Skip to main content

Full text of "The Planning and administration of design competitions"

See other formats








Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 

















Midwest Institute for Design Research 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

The Planning and Administration of Design Competitions 

Copyright © 1986 by L. WitzHng and J. Ollswang 

All rights reserved. Published in the United States by the Mid- 
west Institute for Design Research, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 


No part of this publication may be reproduced, copied, stored in 
a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the prior 
written consent of the authors 

The text is set in Palatino, and was printed by Ries Graphics, 
Butler, Wisconsin 

Book and cover design by Jeffrey Ollswang. 

Witzling, Lawrence P., 1946- 

Planning and administration of design competitions. 

Bibliography: p. 

1 . Design — Competitions — Planning. 2. Design — Competi- 
tions — Management. I. Ollswang, Jeffrey, E., 1940- . II. 
NK1520.W58 1986 745.4'079 86-5140 

ISBN 0-937169-00-5 

to the Sponsors and Competitors 


This book would not have been possible without the sup- 
port and encouragement of the leadership and staff of the Design 
Arts Program of the National Endowment for the Arts. Fore- 
most, we sincerely thank Michael J. Pittas, the past director of the 
program who nurtured these and other endeavors to promote 
effective design competitions, and Adele Chatfield-Taylor, the 
current director, who has added new enthusiasm and direction 
to the effort. 

Charles Zucker, Peter Smith, and Rachel Nichols from the 
Endowment staff have contributed substantially to the content 
and direction of our work. Their guidance has been invaluable 
and they deserve major credit for any praise this book may 

We also are indebted to the wit and patience of Bernard 
Spring who painstakingly reviewed the manuscript. His remarks 
led to the inclusion of new insights, and the deletion of that 
which was unnecessary. Robert Greenstreet also deserves spe- 
cial thanks for adding to our understanding of the procedural 
ramifications of design competitions. There are many other col- 
leagues who have contributed to this work and deserve recogni- 
tion, especially the competitors and sponsors. 

Last, we are deeply grateful to our families: to our spouses 
whose patience and understanding made this feasible, and to 
our children, without whose assistance this endeavor would 
have been completed substantially earlier. 

Lawrence Philip Witzling Jeffrey Edward Ollswang 

School of Architecture and Urban Planning 
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee 

January, 1986 




Dedication v 

Acknowledgements vi 

List of Figures xi 

Introduction 1 

Chapter One: Planning A Competition 3 

1.1 Preliminary Issues 3 

1.1a Technical Assistance 6 

1.1b The Sequence of Decisions 6 

1.2 Selecting the Results 7 

1.3 Selecting the Designers 12 

1.3a Open Competitions 13 

1.3b Invited Competitions 13 

1.3c The Charette (Design Event) 15 

1.3d The RFQ (Request-for-Qualifications) 15 

1.3e Two-Stage Competitions: The Designers and 

the Design 16 

1.3f Two-Stage Competitions: The Second Phase . . 17 

1.4 Selecting the Rewards 17 

1.4a Types of Prizes and Awards 17 

1.4b Awards and Post-Competition Activities 18 

1.5 Defining the Problem: The Challenge 20 

Chapter Two: Managing a Competition, Roles and 

Responsibilities 21 

2.1 The Sponsor 21 

2.1a Financial Responsibility 21 

2.1b Assembling the Team 24 

2.1c Selecting an Adviser 25 

2. Id Professional and Ethical Conduct 28 

2.2 The Professional Adviser: Manager, Coach and 

Referee 28 

2.2a The General Manager: Executive Decisions ... 29 
2.2b The Coach: Sponsor-Competitor 

Communications 29 

2.2c The Referee: Validating the Competition 31 

2. 2d The Adviser's Contract 31 

2.3 The Competition Staff 32 



2.4 Advisory Panels 34 

2.4a Conflict Resolution 34 

2.4b Technical Expertise 36 

2.4c Resource Development 36 

2.4d The Panel's Authority 37 

2.5 The Jury 37 

2.5a Evaluating and Selecting Potential Jurors 38 

2.5b Jury Composition 38 

2.5c Jury Leadership 42 

Chapter Three: Allocating Time and Money 43 

3.1 The Budget 43 

3.1a Trade-Offs 43 

3.1b Revenues 48 

3.1c Cash Prizes and Long-Term Costs 49 

3. Id Budget Preparation 49 

3.2 The Schedule 50 

3.2a Deadlines 50 

3.2b Preparing the Work Schedule 51 

Chapter Four: Communications 55 

4.1 The Sequence of Communication 55 

4.2 The Announcement 56 

4.3 Design and Publication of Documents 58 

4.4 Question and Answer Period 64 

4.5 Face-to-Face Communications 68 

4.6 Post-Competition Dialogue 68 

Chapter Five: The Competition Program 69 

5.1 Program Development and Review 70 

5.2 Guidelines: Requirements, Recommendations and 

Options 70 

5.2a Eligibility 74 

5.2b Registration Fees and Procedures 75 

5.2c Deadlines and Deliveries 75 

5. 2d Presentation Guidelines 80 

5.2e Anonymity 82 

5.2f Awards 86 

5.2g Ownership and Use of Submissions 87 

5.2h Return of Submissions 91 



5.3 Specifying the Design Problem 91 

5.3a Precision and Clarity 94 

5.3b Evaluative Criteria 95 

5.4 Testing the Program: The Problem, The Criteria and 

The Presentation 98 

5.5 Supplementary Information 102 

Chapter Six: The Jurying Process 105 

6.1 Initiation of the Process 105 

6.2 Facilities 107 

6.3 Presenting the Submissions Ill 

6.4 Jury Chairperson Ill 

6.5 Disqualification 112 

6.6 Voting Procedures 117 

6.7 Record Keeping 117 

6.8 Opening the Envelope 121 

6.9 The Awards Ceremony 123 

6.10 Sponsor Briefings 125 

6.11 The Jury Report 127 

Chapter Seven: Post-Competition Activities, Applications 

and Implementation 129 

7.1 Design Commissions 130 

7.1a Negotiations 132 

7.1b Ownership of Ideas 133 

7.1c Contracts and Contingencies 133 

7.2 Promotion and Education 134 

7.2a Catalogues 135 

7.2b Exhibits 139 

7.2c Journals and Magazines 141 

7.2d Other Visual Media 142 

7.3 Resource Development 142 

7.4 Design-Build and Design-Develop Contracts 144 

7.5 Archival Records 150 

Bibliography 156 




1.1 Agenda for Preliminary Planning 4 

1.2 Sequence of Pre-Competition Decisions 8 

1.3 Competition Types and Desired Results 10 

1.4 Awards and Service Contracts 19 

2.1 Roles and Responsibilities by Type of Activity 22 

2.2 The Adviser's Services and Responsibilities 26 

2.3 Staff Assignments for Competitions 33 

2.4 Tasks for Advisory Panels 35 

2.5 Jurors' Services and Responsibilities 40 

3.1 Sample Budgets, 1983-1985 (in $1,000) 44 

3.2 Typical Schedules 52 

4.1 Types of Announcements 57 

4.2 Contents of Announcements 59 

4.3 Production Times for Documents 66 

5.1 Program Contents 71 

5.2 Eligibility Criteria 76 

5.3 Registration Fees for Open Competitions 79 

5.4 Deadlines and Delivery Requirements 81 

5.5 Presentations: Requirements, Recommendations 

and Options 83 

5.6 Types of Awards 88 

5.7 The Problem Statement 92 

5.8 The Problem, the Criteria and the Presentation .... 99 

5.9 Checklist for Supplementary Information 100 

6.1 Jury Preparation 106 

6.2 Jury Facilities 108 

6.3 Disqualification Procedures and Options 114 

6.4 Voting and Selection Procedures 118 

6.5 Notifying the Winners 120 

6.6 Awards Ceremony (and Press Conference) 122 

6.7 Sponsor Briefing 124 

6.8 Jury Report (or Catalogue) 126 

7.1 Awarding Design Commissions 131 

7.2 Post-Competition Promotion and Education 136 

7.3 Post-Competition Resource Development 143 

7.4 Principles for Design/Development Competition 
Procedures 146 

7.5 Post-Competition Construction and Development . . 151 

7.6 Archives and Records 152 


The Eiffel Tower — the promise of design excellence through competi- 


Competitions are a unique way to achieve design excellence — 
but only if they are planned and managed effectively. Each one is 
tailored to a unique combination of design problems, client aspi- 
rations and resources. There are, nevertheless, recurring steps in 
the competition process which have predictable problems and 
various solutions. Each chapter in this text addresses a different 
set of these issues. 

This book is intended for use by all competition participants 
including sponsors, jurors, advisers and competitors. It would 
be unusual if any one member of this audience were interested in 
all aspects of design competitions. Consequently, the following 
chapters and sections can be used independently to fit the needs 
of each reader. 

This book stresses basic principles which are explained with 
examples of competitions in architecture, urban design, land- 
scape architecture and urban planning. The examples were cho- 
sen for their familiarity to a broad audience and in no way imply 
that competitions in other disciplines are less significant. The 
basic principles apply to all fields. 

Chapter One discusses preliminary planning and the initial deci- 
sions. Chapters Two and Three present the managerial issues 
related to personnel, time and financial resources. Chapter Four 
focuses on the formal communication process between sponsors 
and competitors — a distinctive feature of the competition pro- 

The heart of a design competition is the program document. This 
is elaborated in Chapter Five, and the most dramatic event, the 
selection of winners by the jury, is described in Chapter Six. 

Chapter Seven details the post-competition process and the al- 
ternative ways of using competition results. This last chapter 
relates also to the beginning of the planning process when the 
crucial decisions are made regarding the desired competition 

Throughout the book there are illustrations which amplify and 
summarize the more important points. As noted, different por- 
tions of the book will be of greater interest to different partici- 
pants in the competition process. The reader is encouraged to 
scan the contents first and become familiar with the general 
nature of the book prior to more in-depth study. 



It often begins with an informal conversation when someone 
remarks "What about a design competition? After all, we'll get 
lots of good ideas and then pick the best!" The process may end 
just as abruptly with a response like "It's too costly, and what 
will we do if we don't get any practical solutions?" 

These casual observations are poor reasons to accept, or reject, 
the possibility of conducting a competition. Both unnecessary 
anxieties and unfounded expectations are typical of initial dis- 
cussions. The planning for most competitions begins within this 
context of mixed pessimism and optimism. The important point 
is to judge the opportunities and problems realistically and to 
establish an open-minded attitude with which to examine all the 


For those with some prior competition experience, preliminary 
discussions may be expedited. For individuals and groups less 
familiar with competitions, these initial discussions are an edu- 
cational process as well as a planning process. 

Initial discussions of realistic objectives and necessary resources 
are especially important. Preliminary planning should also con- 
sider the resources needed for awards and prizes, the jury, pro- 
fessional consultants, staff support, printing and mailing pro- 
gram documents, as well as a variety of post-competition 
activities (Figure 1.1). Other issues frequently discussed during 
preliminary meetings include the schedule of competition 
events and the political, economic and legal implications of the 


The following items should be considered when setting the agenda for the first in-depth 
discussion about conducting a competition: 

1. Immediate 

What are the immediate short-term objectives? 

a. What does the sponsor need and want from a competition? 

b. Are these goals realistic? 

c. Is a design competition the best way to meet the sponsor's 

d. What design problems does the sponsor want the 
competitors to address? 

2. Implementation How can the immediate objectives be implemented? 

a. Who must review and approve the competition results 
prior to implementation? 

b. Is the sponsor willing and able to provide cash prizes, a 
design commission or both? 

c. Who will manage post-competition activities such as: 

• conferences and exhibitions? 

• publications and catalogues? 

• negotiations for design contracts? 

3. Competition Given the objectives, what types of competitions are 
Options appropriate? 

a. Should the competition be: 

• open, limited or invited? 

• local, regional or national? 

• one or two-stage? 

b. Who should be eligible to compete? 

c. Which options seem workable? 

4. Long-Term Goals 

What long-term goals can be served by the 

a. What does the sponsor anticipate achieving two or three 
years after the competition: 

• completing a building? 

• initiating construction? 

• publishing studies? 

• seeking public support? 

b. What additional funds and support will be needed to 
achieve long-term goals? 

Figure 1.1 Continued 

5. Resources 

If a competition is desirable, what resources will be 

a. How much money will be required for: 

• cash prizes? 

• supplies and expenses? 

• staff? 

• the jury? 

• the professional adviser? 

• mailing and distribution? 

b. Can additional funds and services be raised by the 

c. What in-house staff and services can be allocated to the 

6. Schedule 

If resources are available, what will be the schedule of 

7. Assistance 

a. How soon can the competition begin? 

b. What is the desired completion date? 

c. How flexible are the start-up and completion dates? 

d. What critical events will occur during the course of the 
competition, such as: 

• budget approvals? 

• legislative actions? 

• new design issues? 

What type of technical assistance will be needed? 

a. Locally, will support be available from: 

• design professionals? 

• public and elected officials? 

• business and community leaders? 

b. What type of professional expertise is needed to: 

• locate, evaluate and select a professional adviser? 

• prepare a competition schedule, budget and program? 

• locate, evaluate and select jurors? 

• assist in assembling an advisory panel? 

• evaluate competitors if there is an invited competition 
or RFQ? 

• develop a facilities program if needed? 

1.1a Technical Assistance 

Proper technical assistance should be sought before the organi- 
zation and content of the competition are finalized. Persons 
unfamiliar with conducting competitions frequently overlook 
major problems and opportunities. Suppose a potential sponsor 
wishes to ensure a practical outcome by holding an invited com- 
petition limited to only a few nationally prominent firms. Experi- 
ence has shown that invited competitions do not necessarily 
ensure practical solutions. A two-stage competition or a compe- 
tition based on a request-for-qualifications may be better op- 

Exploring the advantages of different competition plans requires 
assistance from a professional competition consultant usually 
referred to as a professional adviser. The search for technical advis- 
ers or competition consultants generally begins by requesting 
information from national design organizations and associ- 
ations, or by reviewing design journals that advertise competi- 
tions and publish competition results. While responsible consul- 
tants often provide limited advice without charge during initial 
conversations, sponsors must expect to pay a professional fee for 
a more thorough analysis of a competition proposal. The fees for 
consultations are equivalent to the hourly rates for principals in 
design firms. 

1.1b The Sequence Of Decisions 

Preliminary discussions should establish the logical sequence of 
decisions. Figure 1.2 illustrates the conventional sequence of 
decisions and critical issues encountered during preliminary 

Typically, the first decisions concern the anticipated outcomes 
and goals, the basic structure of the competition and the critical 
design issues to be addressed. The next steps include assembling 
the necessary professional and financial resources. Once the 
budgetary commitment is made, the person responsible for the 
general planning and administration of the competition should 
be selected. Traditionally, this person is the professional adviser 
(or a project director) who then prepares a comprehensive man- 
agement plan. 

The next decision is selecting the jurors and establishing a con- 
tractual arrangement which specifies their authority and respon- 

sibility. Once the jurors have been approached and have agreed 
to serve, the competition may be announced pubHcly. The for- 
mal announcement is an imphed agreement between the spon- 
sor and potential competitors. It is usually the point of no return. 

All of these initial decisions are important. They shape the entire 
competition process. The remainder of this chapter elaborates 
these critical preliminary planning issues. 


The sequence of decisions should begin with a discussion of how 
the sponsor wants to use the results of the competition. The end 
of the jurying process is just the beginning of the post-competi- 
tion activities through which the sponsor realizes the full bene- 
fits of the competition. A successful competition plan, therefore, 
depends on a proper analysis and selection of competition out- 

The most traditional outcome is, of course, the awarding of a 
design commission and associated procedures for contract nego- 
tiations. A more substantial outcome would involve the award- 
ing of a contract to finance, construct, own and operate a specific 
building or building complex. Competition results may also be 
used for fund-raising campaigns or as a means to inform and 
influence the design professions or the general public. Chapter 
Seven describes the principal types of outcomes in greater detail. These 
types of outcomes are also noted in Figure 1.3 and several other 
tables and diagrams throughout the text. 

Appropriate competition outcomes or applications depend on 
both the sponsor's intent and commitment. If, for example, a 
sponsor intends to use a competition as the first step toward 
constructing a building, then this goal should govern the con- 
duct of the competition. If, on the other hand, the sponsor 
intends to inform and influence the design professions, then the 
competition should be oriented to promotional and educational 
goals, specific target audiences and communication techniques. 
In both instances, the sponsor's objective determines what com- 
petition results would be most useful; and this, in turn, influ- 
ences the structure of the competition (Figure 1.3). 

The sponsor's degree of commitment, however, is an equally 
important determinant of the competition. This commitment 
should be expressed in the structure of prizes and awards, such 


When developing the preliminary plan, there is a typical sequence of decisions to be 
made by the sponsor 

Decision 1: 
Select the Desired 

Based upon the sponsor's immediate short-term 
objectives, the competition results should be defined, 
such as: 

Decision 2: 
Select the 
Designers Who 
Should Compete 

a. awarding a design commission 

b. awarding a design-build or design-development contract 

c. initiating a promotional and educational campaign 

d. developing resources for future projects 

e. establishing an archive for future reference. 

The sponsor should then decide what form of 
competition is appropriate. The alternatives usually 

a. open competitions 

b. invited competitions 

c. Charettes (design events) 

d. RFQ's (requests-for-qualifications) 

e. two-stage competitions. 

The next decision involves the kind of assistance 
which will be required, including: 

a. competition consultants 

b. a professional adviser 

c. members of an advisory panel . 

A preliminary schedule and budget should then be 
developed for: 

a. prizes and awards 

b. staff supplies and expenses 

c. deadlines for critical evey^ts and activities. 

After the schedule and budget are outlined the jurors 
should be selected. This involves: 

Decision 3: 

Obtain Professional 


Decision 4: 
Develop a Schedule 
and Budget 

Decision 5: 
Select the Jurors 

a. evaluting potential jurors 

b. discussing the competition with potential jurors 

c. negotiating contracts with jurors and confirming the dates 
for the jury deliberations. 

Decision 6: The final pre-competition decision is to publicly 

Announce the announce the competition. Once the announcement 

Competition has been made, the sponsor is morally obligated to 

proceed with the competition. 

The Sponsor, Saint Paul Mayor George Latimer addresses members of 
the press at the public announcement of the winners of the Saint Paul 
Cityscape Competition. 

as a contract to undertake the next step in the design process. 
Suppose, however, that a sponsor intends to build the results, 
but cannot make the necessary commitments because of eco- 
nomic or political constraints. Then the competition prizes 
should not include a design commission (since no commitment 
can be made), but should include a strategy for fund-raising or 
developing other critical resources. The point, again, is to struc- 
ture the competition rewards to fit the sponsor's commitment to 
implementation. Section 1.4 elaborates this issue and Figure 1.4 
lists different forms of awards and associated service contracts. 




Awarding of 



Awarding of 
Design-Build or 



Especially useful when a 
broad range of design ideas 
is needed. 

Not Recommended 



Useful when sponsors 
require specific expertise or 
design "personalities." 


Helps limit the number of 
entrants to several highly 
selected competitors with 
demonstrated track records. 

(design event) 

Not Recommended 

Not Recommended 

RFQ (request-for- 


Useful when limited range 
of desigfj solutions and 
demonstrated expertise are 
both necessary. 


Helps limit the number of 
entrants to several highly 
selected competitors with 
demonstrated track records. 



Appropriate when the 
design problem and 
program are especially 


Appropriate when the first 
stage is for a design idea 
and the second stage is a 
plan for implementation. 


Figure 1.3 Continued 



Promotion, Education 
or Resource 



Useful for the production 
of promotional materials, 
catalogues, exhibits and 


Useful for investigating a 
broad range of current 
attitudes and design 


Not Recommended 


Helps document the design 
work of leading, recognized 



An excellent media event 
that attracts broad public 
interest and focuses 
attention on specific issues. 


Useful only for record 
keeping and future 

(design event) 

Not Recommended 


Useful only for record 
keeping and future 

RFQ (request-for- 

Not Recommended 


The first stage results can 
illustrate the range of 
attitudes and concepts. 

Two- Stage 


When planning the competition outcomes, one common pitfall 
is to misjudge the potential for using the results. Consider a 
competition planned only to generate ideas, even though the 
sponsor intends to construct a design solution based on the 
competition. This strategy of under commitment is risky because 
the competitors will focus on general design ideas rather than 
the specific constraints involved in construction and develop- 

A reverse pitfall lies in over commitment — overestimating the 
certainty or amount of resources which can be committed to 
implement the results of the competition. Consider a local gov- 
ernment sponsor that overstates its commitment and guarantees 
construction of the winning entry in a competition for a new Arts 
Center. Competitors and jurors will give a high priority to mat- 
ters of construction technology, interior functions and other im- 
plementation issues. In fact, other design issues may be more 
important, such as creating an impressive public image to in- 
crease civic pride and gain political and financial support for 
construction at a later date. Had the sponsor indicated a candid 
commitment to fund-raising rather than an overstated commit- 
ment to construction, the probability of effective design solu- 
tions would have been increased. 


Selecting superior designers is as important as selecting the right 
competition outcomes. This is particularly apparent in competi- 
tions where the talent needed to solve the design problem is not 
the same as the skills needed, for example, to resolve problems of 
construction, financing or administration. The jury cannot guar- 
antee to the sponsor that winning designers in an anonymous 
competition will have all the skills needed for all post-competi- 
tion steps in implementation — whether these skills involve 
construction management, preparing an exhibit, or writing a 
development prospectus. On the other hand, it may be relatively 
unimportant that the designer be expert in all tasks required for 
post-competition implementation. 

In some competitions, it may be important that the winning 
designer be familiar with local building practices and proce- 
dures, or have expertise in a highly specialized field. In other 
instances, the sponsor may want evidence that the designer is 
cost-conscious and reliable. Analysis of appropriate designer 


qualifications should lead directly to one of the basic types of 
competitions described in the following subsections. Figure 1.3 
illustrates the relationship between the types of designer selec- 
tion procedures and the intended competition outcomes. Each of 
these selection procedures is discussed in the following sections. 

1.3a Open Competitions 

In an open competition there are few, if any, restrictions on de- 
signers who may submit solutions. Anyone belonging to a recog- 
nized design discipline may be eligible to compete. The common 
feature of open competitions is an attitude rather than a techni- 
cal description of eligibility. The intent is to maximize the range 
of eligible competitors and increase the number and variety of 
design solutions. 

Open competitions should be anonymous and the jury should be 
aware only of the merits of the design solutions, and not the past 
experience of the designer. Some potential sponsors worry need- 
lessly that the jury will select the best design concept only to 
discover that the designer who produced the solution lacks some 
desirable skill or expertise that the sponsor wants. Consequent- 
ly, open competitions are often limited to persons with some 
professional qualifications such as licensure, registration or cer- 
tification. Sometimes the phrase "open competition" is used to 
refer to geographically limited competitions in which designers 
must be located within the community. 

Open competitions de-emphasize the role of past experience as 
the most reliable indicator for judging future design perfor- 
mance. Many sponsors choose open competitions precisely be- 
cause traditional designer selection procedures have not ful- 
filled the promise of design quality. Open competitions, on the 
other hand, not only produce more solutions; they almost al- 
ways produce more good solutions. Some sponsors, however, 
still perceive open competitions as riskier than the invited com- 
petitions (described in the next section) because the latter seem 
closer to the traditional client-designer relationship. The two 
options must be compared critically. 

1.3b Invited Competitions 

In some cases there are good reasons for selecting several com- 
petitors, in advance, who are then formally invited to submit 


designs. The decision for an invited competition should be based 
upon the complexity of the sponsor's design problem, the re- 
quired expertise of the designer and the sponsor's commitment 
to post-competition construction. Too often, invited competi- 
tions are chosen because the sponsor believes that inviting only 
the largest firms or the most famous designers assures the high- 
est quality solutions. This is not necessarily the case. 

Invited competitions should be considered when the intended 
result is a specialized facility or major building complex, and 
when a design commission will be awarded to the winner to 
develop construction documents and administer the design pro- 
cess. In these situations, however, there are other options to 
consider. As an alternative, the sponsor might conduct an open 
competition with program provisions that ensure post-competi- 
tion work by designers with the requisite qualifications. 

If an invited competition is appropriate, then the sponsor must 
plan for, and seek, assistance in the initial selection process 
during which many potential competitors are evaluated. This is a 
separate jury procedure, and is just as important as the final jury 
process which will ultimately select the best solution. An effec- 
tive selection process should include the development of formal 
evaluation criteria, identification of potential competitors, inves- 
tigation of their qualifications, and the empaneling of a group of 
experts to recommend a list of competitors to the sponsor. 

There are potential pitfalls in any selection process. Invitations 
based on a sponsor's cursory review of architectural journals, for 
example, are not likely to be reliable. There is no guarantee that a 
firm invited to compete will assign the project to the same per- 
sonnel responsible for the work which caught the eye of the 
sponsor. Another fundamental error, is to invite firms based 
upon political, social or professional relationships — a frequent 
occurrence in conventional practice which simply defeats the 
purpose of a competition based on design merit. Published 
photographs of buildings, personal contacts, or second-hand 
opinions are no substitute for a thorough confidential evaluation 
of designers and firms with appropriate credentials and refer- 

When the initial selection process is resolved successfully, the 
second competitive process begins. Usually, invited competi- 
tions have only six to ten competitors. Unlike open competi- 


tions, the names of the entrants are not necessarily kept secret, 
except perhaps during the jurying process. More time and effort 
are required to prepare detailed background information about 
the design problem for the competitors, than in a traditional 
open competition. The entrants are also expected to devote more 
time to the competition. Therefore, competitors should be com- 
pensated for some expenses incurred in developing and present- 
ing their design solutions. 

1.3c The Charette (Design Event) 

The charette is a particular kind of invited competition. In a 
charette, all the invited competitors are assembled in one loca- 
tion and develop their solutions at the same time. This becomes a 
major, public design event. There may be a large assembly hall or 
convention center where six design teams work simultaneously 
on their own ideas for a three-day period. Frequently, the spon- 
sor and the general public watch the design process and jury 
deliberations. The announcement of the winner(s) can be a cele- 
brated event with reporters, photographers and community 
leaders in attendance. 

Charette competitions are especially valuable for the purpose of 
attracting public attention and promoting ideas. But charettes 
have some significant shortcomings. They may be less useful, for 
example, when designers need longer working periods to re- 
solve more complex design problems. Additionally, it may be 
difficult to assemble all the needed professional expertise in one 
place at a single time. Moreover, the physical and psychological 
stress of a charette may be counter-productive. 

1.3d The RFQ (Request-For-Qualifications) 

In some competitions, eligibility is based on the results of a 
request-for-qualifications or RFQ. In this type of competition, 
the sponsor uses advertisements and limited mailings to search 
for design firms with specific qualifications. Eligible and interest- 
ed designers submit their qualifications for review. This ap- 
proach often produces more competitors than a conventional 
invited competition, yet fewer than an open competition. In the 
RFQ, the sponsor need not identify specific firms to be invited; 
still, there must be carefully estabhshed selection criteria. 

Like the invited competition, the RFQ requires an initial selec- 
tion process, but handled in a different manner. In an invited 


competition, the sponsor customarily selects competitors based 
on personal knowledge or research. The selection process in an 
RFQ competition differs in that the sponsor need not have the 
names or even a predetermined image of the designers to be 
invited. The sponsor needs only a good starting point or list of 
designers who should be asked to submit their qualifications. 
Thus, an RFQ process could easily lead to twenty or more select- 
ed competitors, a much higher number than for an invited com- 
petition, but considerably fewer than in an open competition. 

1.3e Two-Stage Competitions: The Designers and the Design 

A one-stage competition implies a single competitive design cy- 
cle. If there are subsequent phases of design activity, they are 
usually accomplished by commissioning the first-place designer 
without seeking further work from any other competitors. The 
two-stage competition, on the other hand, is characterized by two 
distinct, sequential, competitive design cycles, each of which is 
judged separately. 

The two stage competition is more expensive and time-consum- 
ing, but is a far more exacting way of selecting both good designs 
and good designers. It affords the sponsor the unique opportuni- 
ty of exploring the breadth of design concepts in the first stage 
and then evaluating, in-depth, the best options and the expertise 
of the winning designers during the second stage. The second 
stage is also useful for clarifying issues of physical implementa- 
tion, as well as financial, legal, cultural and related technical 
questions. Two stage competitions are rarely used for competi- 
tions intended only to communicate new ideas or influence a 
target audience. 

The first phase of a two-stage competition is similar to an open, 
anonymous competition in which the competitors generate pre- 
liminary designs or basic concepts. The jury selects the best 
submissions and designates the winners of the first stage as 
finalists. Usually three to five solutions are selected, but there 
could be as many as ten. In some cases, the first stage finalists 
collect prize money and have the choice of continuing or drop- 
ping out of the race. In others, the receipt of first stage cash 
awards is contingent upon completing the second stage. In other 
words, the first-stage prize money is viewed as partial payment 
or a fee for the second stage design activity. 


1.3f Two-Stage Competitions: The Second Phase 

The second half of a two-stage competition is similar to an invit- 
ed competition with fewer entrants working on an expanded or 
more detailed design problem. The most significant difference 
between the two stages, however, is the content of the design 
problem. When the jury and the sponsor evaluate the first-stage 
winners, the need for changes in the program almost always 
emerges. This is an appropriate, highly desirable result. Such 
new insights ought to be incorporated directly into the second 
stage by modifying or broadening the design problem. Conse- 
quently, it is usually wise to prescribe the second-stage design 
issues only after the completion of the first-stage. 

Other possible changes in the second stage involve the jurying 
process. New jury members could be added or substituted in the 
second stage if the evaluation criteria have been expanded or 
changed or if different professional expertise is needed. Con- 
cerns about the qualifications and expertise of the winning de- 
signers can also be addressed in the second stage. The qualifica- 
tions of the winning designers may be evaluated and, prior to the 
second stage, they may be required to affiliate with other firms or 
to form new teams that better fulfill the sponsor's needs. 

Any procedures for modifications of the second-stage program, 
jury or competitor qualifications must be clearly delineated at 
the start of the first stage in the competition program. The basic 
rules in a two-stage competition cannot be changed in the middle 
of the competition, but it is legitimate to forewarn competitors in 
the first-stage program that second-stage changes are likely and 
permissible, within stated limits. 


Competition prizes and awards serve two major purposes. First, 
they give winning designers both public recognition and finan- 
cial recompense for their talent and effort. Second, the number, 
type and size of the awards is a principal feature which attracts 
competitors. This is especially the case when the awards include 
contracts related to the post-competition use of the results. 

1.4a Types of Prizes and Awards 

The awards generally include cash prizes, design commissions 
for further development of the winning solution, or contracts for 


the actual construction and development of a building or prod- 
uct. The rewards may also include professional and public recog- 
nition through the publication and dissemination of the compe- 
tition results. There may be a first, second, and third prize, and 
honorable mentions. Additional categories, such as awards of merit 
or certificates of recognition, are sometimes left to the discretion of 
the jury. Chapters Three, Five and Seven contain separate sec- 
tions on awards, and Figures 1.4, 5.6 and 7.1 illustrate critical 

1.4b Awards and Post-Competition Activities 

Typically, awards are related to post-competition activities 
through the use of formal contracts. The critical decision is the 
manner whereby the contract is procedurally linked to the award. 
Some sponsors, for example, may fear an award which legally 
obligates them to give a design commission to the first place 
winner, because they may be encumbered with a solution that is 
not financially feasible or is otherwise impractical. Conversely, 
knowledgeable designers are often concerned that sponsors may 
say they will construct the winning solution just to attract com- 
petitors and then renege on their promise. 

There are several ways in which awards can be linked to con- 
tracts for post-competition activities (Figure 1.4). The sponsors 
should select the type of award which most accurately reflects 
their intent and commitment. Suppose a sponsor lacks final au- 
thority for implementation but still has considerable influence 
over the process. Rather than promising to build the winning 
design, this sponsor could carefully define the procedure for 
implementation and promise in good faith to take whatever steps 
are possible to maximize the prospects for implementation. In 
other words, sponsors should candidly describe resources and 
implementation procedures, neither overstating nor understat- 
ing their capabilities. 

The statement of awards must specify any required negotiation 
process between the sponsor and the winning designer(s). In 
some cases the award includes a fee, paid to the winner for 
further design work, contingent upon good-faith negotiation 
with the sponsor. The award usually implies that if either the 
sponsor or designer does not negotiate in good faith, they will 
suffer direct or indirect penalties. In this way, the sponsor can 
avoid truly unacceptable designs or designers, but not arbitrarily. 



As part of, or in addition to, the principal award, a variety of services should be 
considered by the sponsor. These might include: additional drawings or models for 
promotional efforts; detailed design development; preparation of construction 
documents, or; construction management services. There are different ways to link 
such services to the awards depending upon the sponsor's commitment to 
implementation. The options include: 

1. Cash Prize Only 

2. Cash Prize With 
a Statement of 

3. Cash Prize 
With a 

After the prize is awarded, the sponsor may use or disregard 
any winning solutions. 

The sponsor states an intent to implement the competition 
results but is not legally obligated to do so. This is common 
when a sponsor, such as a government agency does not have 
the final authority to approve subsequent contracts as part of 
competition prizes. 

Sponsors are obligated to recommend implementation of a 
winning solution to a higher authority. This higher authority 
may, or may not be bound by the sponsor's recommendation. 

4. Prize, 

and a Contract 

The sponsor must make recommendations to a higher 
authority who, in turn, is obligated to award a design 
contract to the winner. The winners may be ranked (e.g., 
first, second, third) or unranked (e.g., five finalists). 

5. Prize and Right 
to Negotiate 

6. Prize, 
Rights and a 

In addition to the cash prize, the first-place winner has the 
first right to negotiate with the sponsor for the design 
commission or contract. 

The winner has the first right to negotiate for the design 
commission. There is an additional guaranteed payment due 
to the competitor should good-faith negotiations fail. This 
payment acts as an incentive to the sponsor. 

7. Prizes and a The sponsor has the obligation to award the cash prizes as 
Sequence of stated, and initiate negotiations with the first-place winner. 
Negotiation // these negotiations fail, the first-place winner receives an 
Rights additional payment and the sponsor is obligated to open 

negotiations with the second-place winner. The sequence may 
continue to a third-place team. 

8. Conditional V^hen contracts are part of the awards, the sponsor may 
Contracts include special conditions to be met prior to the awarding of 

the contract. The conditions might include licensure or 
registration, demonstrated experience, the capacity to prepare 
construction documents or to supervise construction. The 
sponsor may also reserve the right to require winning 
competitors to affiliate with design firms with predetermined 
qualifications. Such conditions must be precisely and 
prominently noted in the competition program. 


These negotiation principles can be used in competitions which 
assure the construction of buildings, and in any competition that 
involves a contract for subsequent work. 

,#» ii 


At the exhibition of the winning solutions, a TV cameraman records 
the solutions for an evening news story on the local station. (New 
American House Competition, Minneapolis College of Art and De- 


The first detailed discussion of the design issues frequently oc- 
curs just after the sponsor and the adviser make decisions re- 
garding the desired outcomes, competitor qualifications and 
awards. At this point, the design problem is carefully analyzed 
and the design issues are formulated as a basis for the official 
design challenge — the formal statement of the problem that is 
included in the public announcement of the competition. 

Describing the problem with precision and accuracy at the begin- 
ning of a competition is a difficult, almost presumptuous task. 
Yet, a broad, thematic statement must be made at the outset to 
give direction to the competition and guidance to the competi- 
tors. Whenever possible, the challenge statement should empha- 
size unique relationships between the sponsor's design problem 
and the state-of-the-art in the design disciplines. This helps to 
establish the professional significance of the competition and to 
attract more attention from knowledgeable designers. 






Conducting a competition is like organizing a major event in the 
performing arts — it requires creativity, skill, proper timing, 
sufficient funding and an understanding of the audience. There 
is no routine administrative formula, but there are specific roles 
and responsibilities that must be considered including those of 
the sponsor, adviser, jurors, support staff and advisory panels. 
Figure 2.1 outlines some of these roles and associated activities. 


The sponsor's central role is similar to that of an executive pro- 
ducer; the person who has the resources needed to conduct a 
successful competition. The sponsor has the ethical responsibil- 
ity to conduct a fair and equitable competition and an obligation 
to follow through as promised on the results. 

Each sponsor comes to a competition with different skills and 
resources. While many responsibilities should be delegated to 
the professional adviser, the sponsor remains accountable for the 
judgments made by the adviser and others involved in the com- 
petition process. A procedure must be established whereby the 
recommendations of the adviser and the competition staff are 
reviewed and formally approved, or disapproved. 

2.1a Financial Responsibility 

The sponsor's first responsibility is fiscal support and manage- 
ment. Sponsors must provide the needed funds and see that 
they are managed efficiently. Sponsors should establish a de- 








Hires adviser, delegates 
authority and 
responsibilities to others 

Administers and monitors 
all critical tasks 

Financial and 
Budgetary Decisions 

Makes final decisions and 
is financially accountable 

Monitors payments of cash 

Competition Planning 
and Scheduling 

Reviews and approves final 

Develops plan and 
schedule; enforces all stated 

Program Document 

Provides basic goals; 
reviews and approves drafts 
and final documents 

Drafts design challenge, 
problem statements, and all 
program documents 

Communications with 

Reviews and approves 
correspondence and 
documents (or delegates 
this authority to adviser) 

Drafts all correspondence 
and documents 

Jury Deliberations 

May observe 

Examines all entries for 
compliance; assists the 


Develops plans and makes 
final decisions 

Assists sponsor in 
negotiations and 
preparation of reports 


FIGURE 2.1 Continued 

PERSONNEL (Continued): 


Advisory Panel 


Daily administration 

No responsibility 

No responsibility 

Daily disbursements and 

May assist in fund-raising 

No responsibility 

Advises on the schedule 
and provides assistance 

No responsibility 

No responsibility 

Reviews documents; 
provides technical 
assistance and supporting 

Reviews drafts and makes 

Reviews and approves 
documents, makes 

Provides technical 
assistance and additional 

May review some key 

Reviews and approves 
documents, makes 

Assists in the display of 

No responsibility 

Final selection and 
designation of prizes and 

Provides assistance and 

Reviews results; may assist 
in implementation of 

Develops report (usually 
with assistance of the 


tailed budget of the projected costs and revenues. Financial ar- 
rangements for a competition may include escrow accounts for 
prize money, separate accounts for revenues from registration 
fees, and contingency funds for unpredictable or last minute 
changes. While accountants and business managers can provide 
useful advice, the sponsor has the ultimate responsibility. 

Mayor George Latimer, sponsor of the Saint Paul Cityscape Competi- 
tion, is briefed by the adviser regarding the winning solutions prior to 
the public announcement and press conference. 

The goal for the preliminary budget is to establish a balance 
between the various components of the competition including 
prize money, professional fees, advertising costs, catalogues and 
public relations. 

It does little good to have large prizes but insufficient advertising 
to attract competitors. There is no common formula for the allo- 
cation of funds to each activity — the sponsor's objective is to 
establish the right balance. This issue is elaborated in Chapter 
Three, and Figure 3.1 illustrates sample budgets. 

2.1b Assembling the Team 

The second major responsibility is assembling a good manage- 
ment team. Selecting the right team is as critical as choosing the 


right competition outcomes and designer qualifications. The 
sponsor ultimately controls the selection of the professional ad- 
viser, jurors, advisory panel members, and the competition staff. 
This process usually begins with the hiring of a professional 
adviser to whom the sponsor entrusts most subsequent staffing 
arrangements and administrative decisions. 

2.1c Selecting an Adviser 

Ordinarily, the best time to select an adviser is immediately after 
preliminary decisions have been made, but before any final bud- 
getary or legal commitments are established. This does not pre- 
clude seeking consulting services even earlier to assist in pre- 
liminary decisions. 

The point is that the adviser should be hired at the right mo- 
ment — when the sponsor has a clear idea of a desired outcome, 
but is not yet wedded to a specific competition process or struc- 
ture. The sponsor should select a professional adviser suited to 
the structure and intent of the competition. Different expertise is 
required, for example, in a competition for design concepts as 
opposed to one for property development. 

The scope of services may also vary (Figure 2.2). One adviser 
may provide services as a facilities programmer while another 
does not. The sponsor may hire a competition consultant solely 
to prepare a plan and then assist the sponsor in hiring another 
adviser or project director who will produce the competition 
documents and manage the process. A thorough discussion of 
the adviser's responsibilities follows in this Chapter. 

Selection of an adviser, like other professional personnel, is a 
two-step process, beginning with the identification of potential 
candidates and concluding with interviews and a final choice. 
Initial inquiries will be required to develop a list of candidates. 
Some organizations, such as the National Endowment for the 
Arts and other national or local design associations may have 
several references. However, the richest source of names for 
potential advisers can be found in other sponsors of ongoing or 
recently completed competitions who had to conduct their own 
search for an adviser. Sponsors of current or recent competitions 
can be found by reviewing design journals and newsletters for 
reports, announcements or advertisements about competitions. 
These published statements identify the sponsor and may in- 
clude the name of the adviser. Local design schools and some 
major design firms may also have this information. 


Figure 2.2 








1. Preliminary 


One to three days of preliminary planning 


prior to public announcements or 
invitations to compete. 

2. Administration i^ 

Developing initial competition schedule. 


Preparing/reviewing the competition 
budget and awards. 

Assigning/supervising staff. 

3. Preparation of u^\^ 

Drafting the competition program. 



Drafting correspondence between the 
sponsor and competitors (e.g., questions 


and answers). 

Assembling supplementary information. 


Drafting announcements or invitations. 


Preparing the jury report. 

Preparing graphic designs for documents 
(e.g., poster, program or catalogue). 

4. Mailing and 

Preparing mailing lists. 


Placing advertisements in journals and 
other publications. 

Distributing announcements, invitations, 
programs, questions and answers and post 
competition publications. 

5. Jury 


Planning for the size and composition of 


the jury. 


Reviewing potential jurors. 


Developing juror's contracts including the 
scope of services, schedule and other 


Communicating necessary information. 

Key: v^\^ Primary responsibilities should be delegated to the adviser. 

1^ Secondary responsibilities normally involve the adviser and are shared with 

O Optional responsibilities may be delegated to, or shared by the adviser 
depending upon the other resources of the sponsor. 


Figure 2.2 Continued 






6. Selection of 


Developing procedures and selection 


criteria for potential competitors. 

(for invited 
and RFQ's ) 


Developing a list of potential competitors. 


Notifying potential competitors and 

arranging interviews. 


Evaluating credentials. 

Making final recommendations. 

7. Advisory 


Planning the size and composition of the 




Developing tasks and activities. 


Conducting meetings and briefings. 

8. Preparation 


Examining all submissions for compliance 

for Jurying 

to all stated requirements. 



Disqualifying ineligible submissions. 


Preparing the display of submissions. 


Monitoring jurying procedures. 


Instructing the jury prior to evaluation 

and selection procedures. 

9. Awards and 


Notifying the winners. 



Developing press releases. 

Arranging for public announcements and 
press conferences. 

10. Post- 


Briefing the sponsor prior to public 





Communicating results to all registrants. 


Monitoring negotiations between the 
sponsor and the winners. 


Preparing catalogues and publications. 

Disseminating the results of competition. 

Returning non-winning submissions. 

Preparing exhibitions. 

Preparing an archive. 


Each candidate's experience, qualifications and references 
should be evaluated in relation to the sponsor's needs, similar to 
a conventional personnel selection process. It is also important 
to ask the candidates to indicate how they would approach the 
particular problems and opportunities of the proposed competi- 
tion. An interview may also include a discussion of fees. Typical- 
ly an adviser's fee is equivalent to the rates charged by principals 
in design firms or professional consultants in the design disci- 
plines. The adviser's fee will vary according to the scope of 
services and the adviser's experience. Sometimes a flat fee is 
negotiated, and in other cases, portions of fees are contingent on 
other factors such as the number of competition registrations. 

2. Id Professional and Ethical Conduct 

The sponsor has a major responsibility to the competitors and 
the profession at large. A competition is a form of agreement 
between the sponsor and a group of initially unknown design- 
ers. All designers depend upon the sponsor to maintain ethical 
standards throughout the competition process. 

It is, for example, unethical for the sponsor to renege on a stated 
promise to publish or exhibit competition results. Similarly, the 
competitors rely on the sponsor to empower the adviser to moni- 
tor the jury and prohibit awards to solutions which violate the 
rules. The sponsor must describe the design problem clearly and 
candidly so that there are no obscured issues which are evident 
to only a few competitors who thereby gain an unfair advantage. 
The sponsor must also state precisely how the submissions will 
be used after the jurying, and then adhere to that plan. 


The adviser has a mixed role requiring knowledge of design, 
administrative and analytic skills, diplomacy and judicial au- 
thority. The adviser shepherds the competition from beginning 
to end, and each step in the process requires different talents. 
The role of the adviser should vary, of course, according to both 
the characteristics of each competition and the sponsor's re- 

Design competitions are analogous, in some ways, to athletic 
competitions. This analogy can be particularly useful in describ- 


ing the tasks of the professional adviser who, at different times, 
may assume a role similar to the general manager of a team, the 
coach or a referee. 

2.2a The General Manager: Executive Decisions 

As the general manager of the sponsor's team, the adviser ad- 
ministers activities aimed at achieving the sponsor's goals. These 
include reviewing contracts, ensuring that deadlines are met, 
overseeing registration, recording and safeguarding design pro- 
posals, arranging for facilities for the jurying process and super- 
vising support staff. 

In some competitions, many routine administrative tasks are 
delegated to a separate project director rather than to the adviser. 
This division of roles between a project director and an adviser is 
appropriate when the competition is large and complex, or when 
the sponsor's staff includes a fully qualified manager. It is un- 
wise, however, to use a project director from among the spon- 
sor's staff, without the necessary qualifications just because it 
seems less expensive or an expedient way to ensure loyalty. 

As the general manager the adviser should plan for the success- 
ful use of the competition results. The adviser should also ensure 
that the sponsor's intent is reflected accurately in the competi- 
tion program, especially in the definition of both the design 
problem and the criteria that the jury is instructed to use in 
selecting a winner. 

Further, as general manager the adviser should review all com- 
petition documents. Authority for reviewing documents, how- 
ever, is substantially different from responsibility as the principal 
author. Whether the adviser has the added responsibility to draft 
competition documents depends on whether or not the services 
described in the following section are included in the contract. 

2.2b The Coach: Sponsor-Competitor Communications 

Another principal role of the adviser is that of head coach — 
someone who understands the competition process and can de- 
velop the game plan or strategy to achieve the sponsor's goals. To 
do this the adviser drafts a program statement which structures 
and presents the design issues so that competitors can clearly 
understand the problems the sponsor wants to solve. This initial 
programming task is, in fact, the first step of the design process. 


It is similar to a coach instructing a group of talented contestants 
so that all of them can perform to their highest level. Develop- 
ment of the program statement is discussed fully in Chapter 

When drafting the competition documents, the adviser is re- 
sponsible for expressing the sponsor's aspirations while simulta- 
neously representing the interests of the competitors. Unlike a 
conventional design process, competitions have little or no 
spontaneous dialogue between client and designer, but have 
instead a highly structured communication process. 

Prior to the beginning of the jury deliberations the adviser makes a 
final review of the submissions for the New American House Competi- 
tion, Minneapolis College of Art and Design. 

As head coach, the adviser must not only define and communi- 
cate a program but also must respond effectively to new prob- 
lems and events. As the competition unfolds, there are numer- 
ous judgments required to keep it on track, such as answering 
the questions submitted by the competitors, facilitating jury de- 
liberations, generating favorable press coverage, and ensuring 
that all deadlines are met. The adviser should continually evalu- 
ate and modify the game plan or competition strategy to keep the 
process running smoothly and take advantage of new opportuni- 
ties. This may entail resolving conflicts among members of an 
advisory panel, modifying the initial program or helping the 
sponsor and winner negotiate a successful post-competition 
plan for implementation. 


2.2c The Referee: Validating the Competition 

Perhaps the most difficuh role for an adviser is that of referee. 
Without someone to enforce the rules, there is no way to ensure 
that a competition is fair and equitable. A trial without a judge 
who interprets the law and ensures due process has no integrity. 
A ball game without referees and umpires would be chaos. The 
conduct of the sponsor, jury, and competitors must be constantly 
monitored to guarantee a fair, professional contest. This role can 
be filled only by an impartial third party, normally the profes- 
sional adviser. 

As referee, the adviser's actions may protect one party in a 
competition while displeasing another. This can create paradox- 
ical situations: while an agent and subordinate of the sponsor, 
the adviser must oversee the sponsor's conduct (as well as that of 
the jurors and competitors). The adviser should protect the com- 
petitors by ensuring that the sponsor meets all stated commit- 
ments, especially in regard to the distribution of prizes and 
awards. In addition, the adviser protects both the sponsor and 
competitors by disqualifying any submissions which violate the 

The adviser's role as referee becomes most visible near the end of 
the competition process when the jury begins its work. When the 
competition starts the adviser looks more like a manager or 
coach rather than a referee, dealing principally with design is- 
sues and the overall organization of the competition rather than 
the enforcement of the rules. In practice, however, all roles and 
responsibilities are present throughout the competition. 

2.2d The Adviser's Contract 

The contract between the sponsor and adviser must specify the 
scope of services which fit the circumstances of the competition. 
In general, the adviser's services could be summarized as fol- 
lows: as a referee the adviser is essential; for preparing program 
documents an adviser is highly recommended; and for general 
management the need for an adviser is directly related to the 
sponsor's existing staff resources. The contract between the ad- 
viser and sponsor should state the responsibilities and authority 
of both parties for each specific activity and event (Figure 2.2). 

Perhaps the most underrated or least understood service is the 
development of program documents. A slight error in the rules. 


the problem statement, or the supporting information can lead 
to unpredictable and undesirable results. Unfortunately, some 
sponsors assume that this task requires no special expertise and 
that it can be accomplished by any competent staff member. This 
is like saying, "Anyone can be a baseball pitcher; all he has to do 
is throw the ball across home plate." 


Assembling the right staff is more than a routine task. Decisions 
should focus on who will be responsible for each job, whether 
the requisite staff will be provided in-house or acquired external- 
ly and who will have the authority to oversee their work. Figure 
2.3 lists typical staff assignments. 

A design competition may require the services of a graphic de- 
signer, press agent, facilities manager, lawyer, accountant, pho- 
tographer, architect and researcher. The right person must be 
selected for each job. For example, using a student as a graphic 
designer instead of a professional may save a few dollars at first, 
but create problems later if the graphic quality of the documents 
does not attract the desired competitors. 

Personnel are also required for typing, document production, 
advertising, mailing and delivery, and record-keeping. A com- 
mon practice is to assign the sponsor's in-house staff to as many 
tasks as possible. This too, is usually done to reduce costs. Inter- 
nal staff assignments may be appropriate, but it is important not 
to miscalculate the staff's abilities to perform the task and meet 
deadlines. In-house staff may be faced with unfamiliar tasks, a 
different organizational setting and new lines of authority. Inter- 
nal staff assignments should be made only if there is complete 
confidence that the tasks will be completed correctly and on 
schedule — there is rarely time to repeat procedures. 

Another common practice to obtain staff support and reduce 
costs is to seek in-kind contributions, or donations of service. 
Some printers, for example, may be willing to donate services in 
return for acknowledgement and the resulting recognition. In 
other situations, organizations wishing to be credited as associate 
sponsors or supporters of a competition may be willing to assign 
their staff to some specific task or event. Here too, potential cost 
savings must be balanced against the risk that the tasks will not 
be performed satisfactorily or on schedule. 





Planning and Preparation 
Development of 


Jury Post- 

Deliberations Competition 


1. Graphic Design 





2. Photography 





3. Promotion and 




t^i/" Primary 

4. Press and 

Media Relations 





5. Legal Counsel 





6. Market Analysis/ 
Feasibility Studies 





7. Facilities 







1. Clerical/Secretarial 





2. Printing/Copying 





3. Record-Keeping 





4. Mailing/Document 





5. Receipt, Storage 
and Display 
of Submissions 





6. Facilities 






7. Travel and Lodging 





8. Disbursement of 





Notes: Primary and secondary indicate the relative importance of the task. 

The importance of optional assignments depends upon the nature of the competition. 
NA = not applicable 



In most competitions there are outside interest groups, profes- 
sional experts and other parties who feel they should be involved 
in the competition process. A direct, effective response is to ask 
each of these parties or their representatives to become members 
of an advisory panel. 

A list should be prepared identifying potential panel members 
whose expertise or organizational affiliation fit the intended 
needs and goals of the competition. It is also important to select 
members who can work well together and who are likely to be 
active participants. 

The decision to form an advisory panel should be based on the 
sponsor's needs to garner support for the competition, resolve 
conflicts and receive technical assistance. The panel may be 
asked to make recommendations concerning design goals and 
problems, the content and distribution of competition docu- 
ments, public relations and links to local interest groups (Figure 
2.4). The formation of a panel should be discussed with the 
adviser and a decision to convene a panel should be made well 
before the program is finalized or the jurors are selected. 

Any advisory panel must be a legitimate part of the decision- 
making process and it should be kept to a workable size. Most 
sponsors and advisers are familiar with committee work and 
understand this issue. A five to seven person panel is likely to be 
the optimum size. A larger group may prove to be workable if it 
can operate in sub-committees of three to five people, with each 
sub-committee oriented toward a specific task. 

The panel's time should be used wisely. If members feel that 
their time is wasted or their opinions are being ignored, the 
effort can become counter-productive. The sponsor and adviser 
should not hesitate to call on panel members privately to work on 
vexing or complex questions — they will feel they are making 
more of a contribution and the overall competition process will 
be improved. 

2.4a Conflict Resolution 

Competitions frequently affect groups or individuals with con- 
flicting objectives. Advisory panels provide an opportunity to 
join such divergent interests into a common effort. In a competi- 
tion for the design of a public building, for example, interested 










or Design- 


1. Consensus 

1^ Recommended 




2. Representation of 
Interest Groups 

i^ Recommended 


1^ Recommended 


3. Intergovernmental 

i^ Recommended 



i^ Recommended 

4. Public/Private 
Sector Relations 

1^ Recommended 


i/' Recommended 


5. Institutional 

i^ Recommended 





1. Design 






2. Construction 

i^ Recommended 





3. Property 





t^i^ Highly 


4. Engineering 

1^ Recommended 



t^i^ Highly 


5. Economics 







1. Fund Raising 







2. Publicity and 
Public Support 

i^ Recommended 

i^ Recommended y^t^ Highly 




Note: Optional tasks depend upon the specific nature of the competition. 
NA = not applicable 


parties may include those who will eventually occupy the build- 
ing, local neighborhood associations, nearby property owners 
and community leaders. A competition demonstrating the use of 
a new technology or product may have an equally broad array of 
interested parties. The sponsor stands at the center of such 
interests and should assume a leadership role. 

While the formation of an advisory group does not necessarily 
resolve all conflicts, it can provide the basis for reaching a con- 
sensus. Successful advisory panels can turn potentially adver- 
sarial relationships into alliances for action. In some instances, 
early discussions with these parties may even lead to the sharing 
of competition costs and responsibilities. In any case, the com- 
munity of interests that surround a competition should be recog- 
nized formally through the proper composition of an advisory 

2.4b Technical Expertise 

In addition to resolving conflicts and encouraging consensus, an 
advisory panel can be a conduit for obtaining valuable technical 
and professional expertise. There may be a specific skill which 
may help the adviser to define the design problem. In addition to 
local design or engineering experts, there may be other individ- 
uals who can provide historical knowledge, graphic skills, or 
financial or legal expertise. 

Technical experts may not have a direct stake in the competition 
outcome, but they may assist either as a matter of civic pride or in 
return for public acknowledgement and recognition. Such per- 
sons frequently have busy schedules and numerous commit- 
ments, so it is important to assure them that their time and 
knowledge will be used efficiently and judiciously. 

2.4c Resource Development 

Members of the advisory panel may also serve as the core of a 
network of people and organizations which can provide support 
and resources. A panel member might help speed the process of 
getting necessary background data from a local government 
agency. Another might help gain support for the competition 
from professional design associations. Others may help promote 
press coverage of the competition as an important public event. 


Panel members can be invaluable leaders in post-competition 
activities. They may assist in securing financing for construction 
or in developing resources for a traveling exhibition. Requests 
for such post-competition assistance should be made at the start 
of the competition. In this way, panel members will feel that 
their ideas are an integral part of the decision-making process 
(not an afterthought) and are therefore more likely to be active 

2.4d The Panel's Authority 

The authority of the advisory panel should be stated clearly so 
that misinterpretations and ill-will do not arise. The advisory 
panel usually is chaired by the professional adviser and the 
panel's authority is limited to making recommendations. Infor- 
mally it should be understood that the panel members will sup- 
port the competition publicly in exchange for serious consider- 
ation of their viewpoints. 


The competition jury should have the sole responsibility of eval- 
uating the eligible submissions, and selecting and ranking the 
best solutions to the problem. A second role of the jury is to 
attract, by their collective reputation, the most qualified and 
talented competitors. The credentials and experience of each 
juror should reflect both of these objectives. Most good competi- 
tors evaluate the information given about the jurors' expertise, 
published works, awards and professional contributions. 

The exact impact of a juror's reputation, however, is difficult to 
assess. Some jurors may not be well-known to the public but may 
be well-respected within the profession and thereby will tend to 
attract highly qualified entrants. In other instances, the collective 
reputation of the jurors may seem biased toward a singular point 
of view and thus may discourage some good designers from 
entering the competition. 

There is a special case worth noting called the blind jury. With 
this approach, the competitors are not informed as to the names 
of the jurors (even though competitors may be given some gener- 
al background information about each juror). A blind jury is 
used seldomly, however, because the presentation of the jurors' 
names and credentials is one of the most effective ways to ex- 
press the sponsor's intent and to attract competitors. 


2.5a Evaluating and Selecting Potential Jurors 

Developing the most effective combination of jurors is a delicate 
task requiring experience, research and diplomacy. It is particu- 
larly important to evaluate a juror's ability to work with others. 
Some potential jurors are designers who have reputations for 
being eccentric or autocratic, although such reputations are often 
ill-founded or overstated. On the other hand, jurors who appear 
reasonable in initial conversations may turn out to be non-pro- 
ductive during the jurying process. Also, some potential jurors 
may be reluctant or unwilling to serve with other jurors who are 
not design professionals. 

Accordingly, all potential jurors should be evaluated through a 
series of confidential contacts by the adviser to determine if they 
are appropriate for the task. Subsequent interviews with poten- 
tial jurors usually concern the nature of the design problem, fees, 
the dates of the jurying process, and the responsibilities of the 
jurors. The person contacting the jurors should be fully prepared 
to discuss all of these issues and answer any questions directly. 
Potential jurors, however, should not be told the names of the 
other jury candidates unless these candidates have agreed to 
serve as jurors. 

Fees for jurors are comparable to the rates for principals or part- 
ners in major firms. The fee should be fair recompense for the 
time and expertise the jurors are expected to provide. Occasion- 
ally sponsor representatives and local non-professional jurors 
are asked to serve without a fee. 

The jurors must review competition documents and sign a con- 
tractual agreement stating that they will abide by all the compe- 
tition's rules. The contract should specify the authority, services 
and responsibilities of the jurors (Figure 2.5). Typically, jurors are 
given the sole authority to designate the winners. There are, 
however, qualifications of this authority regarding the adviser's 
disqualification of entries and the jury's discretion in modifying 
the number and types of prizes. These issues are elaborated in 
Chapters Five and Six. 

2.5b Jury Composition 

The majority of jurors often are well-known and respected pro- 
fessional designers. Frequently, the jury is composed of design- 
ers from different, but complementary disciplines or areas of 
expertise. Some jurors are design critics, writers, or educators — 


persons who understand design but are not necessarily practi- 
tioners. Non-designers should not, however, serve on a jury 
unless they have the skills required to comprehend fully the 
presentations that are submitted. 

Juries most often have five to seven members. Initially, sponsors 
may wish to include more jurors in order to represent more 
viewpoints and to attract more competitors. A jury with too 
many conflicting viewpoints can, however, be unproductive. 
Similarly, a jury with too few viewpoints can become slanted 
toward an idiosyncratic decision. 

In one of two display rooms, jurors James Wines, James Bellus, Hideo 
Sasaki and Richard Whitaker, discuss evaluative criteria and initial 
selections during a planned break in the deliberations at the Saint Paul 
Cityscape Competition. 

The most frequent type of non-design professional to serve on a 
jury is the sponsor's representative. Such persons usually have 
thorough knowledge of the programmatic requirements and the 
sponsor's needs. Sometimes, the sponsor's representative is 
designated as a non-voting member of the jury. Occasionally, 
such persons inadvertently provide critical information which 
was not included in the program documents. The jury must not 
be allowed to consider this information in making their judg- 
ments — it is fundamentally unfair to the competitors. The best 
safeguard against this dilemma is to make sure that all the jurors, 
including any sponsor representatives, appreciate the rules and 
the importance of an equitable competition. 



1. General The agreement between the sponsor and the jurors 

Agreement should include a statement signed by each juror 

attesting to the fact that he or she: 

a. has read, reviewed and approved the contents of the 

b. agrees to be bound by the competition rules 

c. agrees to evaluate the submissions based upon the 
evaluative criteria stated in the program. 

d. agrees to designate winning solutions as described in the 

2. Program 

The final program documents should be sent to the 
individual jurors for their signed approval prior to 
distribution of the documents to the competitors. This 
should be noted in the program. 

3. Fee Structure When possible the juror's fee should be structured 

to include a separate payment for the formal review 
and approval of the competition program and, if 
appropriate, review of the competitors' questions and 
the answers. 

4. Authority 

The contract with the jurors should carefully describe 
the relative authority of the jury, adviser and sponsor, 

a. the selection and designation of winners (the jury's 

b. the disqualification of entries (the adviser's authority) 

c. the announcement of the results (the sponsor's 


Figure 2.5 Continued 

5. Jury Report Jurors should be obligated to assist in drafting a final 

jury report. The jurors' contract may require: 

a. the review and approval of drafts, as prepared by the jury 
chair, other jurors, the adviser or the sponsor 

b. the drafting of comments regarding the winning 
submissions and any others that they consider noteworthy 

c. timely submission of comments and materials for the 

d. separate payment for this service. 

6. Jury Chairperson 

Designation of a jury chairperson, or procedures for 
selecting a chairperson should be included in the 
jurors' agreement. The options are: 

a. Chairperson as Manager: 

The chairperson manages and facilitates the jurying 
process, but has no added authority in selecting winners. 
The juror's agreement should describe the process by 
which the chairperson will be selected: designated 
beforehand by the sponsor or adivser, or elected by the 

b. Chairperson as Philosophical Leader: 

The sponsor or the adviser selects a chairperson prior to 
the jurying process. In this situation the chairperson may 
have additional authority in selecting winners. This 
authority may be stated in terms of additional votes, or 
veto power granted to the chairperson by the sponsor. 

c. Additional Fee: 

If additional responsibility or authority is granted to the 
chairperson beforehand by the sponsor, the agreement 
should contain additional payment for this service. 


Other non-designers who serve as jurors include experts with 
knowledge of political, social, financial, historical or cultural 
matters. A variety of expert jurors from different professional 
disciplines is particularly suited to design-build or design-devel- 
op competitions where legal and economic judgments are of 
equal, or greater, importance than design judgments. 

Another type of juror is a local design professional who is well 
respected, but who may not have a national reputation. Such 
jurors may have knowledge of relevant, specific circumstances 
which are unknown to jurors from outside the community. It is 
important for all jurors to understand that such local expertise is 
appropriate in evaluating how well the solutions fit the local 
context. It is unfair and improper, however, if such knowledge is 
used as a basis for disregarding or modifying the stated pro- 
gram. Nevertheless, choosing local, qualified jurors is appropri- 
ate, especially in site-specific competitions involving complex 
physical, technical, political or cultural problems. 

2.5c Jury Leadership 

Some juries have a leader — a jury chair, whose role and authority 
depends upon the specific competition. In most instances, the 
chair only facilitates the jurying process, making certain that 
correct, efficient procedures are followed. The chair may direct 
the jury when the process seems stalled or deadlocked, and in 
general, should foster a congenial atmosphere where serious 
debate is encouraged and where all jurors' comments are consid- 

In other, less frequent cases, the role of the jury chair is used to 
influence the final outcome or product of the jury. The chair of 
this jury is specifically chosen as a guiding light — a philosophical 
leader who imprints his or her philosophy on the competition 
results. This type of jury leader is appropriate when strong state- 
ments of personal taste and design philosophy are desirable. 
Empowering one person to dominate a jury is equivalent in 
many ways to letting that person be the actual designer. Conse- 
quently such persons should be interviewed and selected with 
the same scrutiny as would be the designer for the project. 




The effective distribution of time and money is critical to the 
success of the competition process. While Chapter Two dis- 
cussed professional resources, this chapter deals with resources 
directly, focusing on the budget and the schedule. 


The cost of a competition depends on several variables: the num- 
ber and amount of cash prizes, the number and type of the 
documents to be printed, the fees for the jurors and adviser, and 
general staff support. A large two-stage competition with com- 
plex documents and prizes will clearly cost more than a small 
competition with one cash prize. Figure 3.1 illustrates the pat- 
terns of costs for different kinds of competitions. 

3.1a Trade-offs 

Numerous trade-offs have to be made in the budgeting process. 
Consider a situation where a sponsor must choose between in- 
creasing the cash prizes to attract more competitors or increasing 
funds to produce a high quality program. Either choice implies a 
significant risk. If the sponsor does not increase the cash prizes, 
not enough good solutions may be submitted. If the sponsor 
reduces the funds for the development of the competition pro- 
gram, the winning designs may not be as useful. 

There is no single formula for the successful allocation of compe- 
tition funds. Prize money, professional management, advertis- 
ing, jury selection, program development, post-competition ac- 


Figure 3.1 SAMPLE BUDGETS, 1983-1985 (in $1,000) 

General Statistics 
(Percentage & Dollars) 


Mean Range^ 


Total Costs 


111 214 


Prizes and Awards 


40 98 


Professional Fees and 
Staff Costs 


37 69 


Professional adviser 
Project director 













Supplies and Expenses 




Printing, mailing, advertising 




Facilities, equipment 




Travel and lodging 








Post-Competition Expenses 




Catalogues, publications 





Indirect Costs 





' Discrepancies in totals and subtotals are due to rounding. 

^ Totals and subtotals in the columns marked "high" and "low" are based on the numbers in 
each row — they do not reflect the totals or subtotals in the column. 
Key: na = not applicable or no cost 

Inc = Included in another category, or donated/in-kind service with no stated dollar 


Figure 3.1 Continued 

open Competitions: 
Promotion & Education 

Open Competitions: 
Commissions or Contracts 

Urban Housing 
Landmark Concept 



Architec- Housing 
tural Demon- 
School stration 



164 88 



117 87 



23 14 



43 25 



38 34 



44 40 

































































































Figure 3.1 Continued 


(Design event) 



Spaces foi 

' Performing 
Arts Center 


Total Costs 






Prizes and Awards 






Professional Fees and 
Staff Costs 







Professional adviser 
Project director 





















Supplies and Expenses 





Printing, mailing, advertising 






Facilities, equipment 






Travel and lodging 










Post-Competition Expenses 






Catalogues, publications 








Indirect Costs 






Key: na = not applicable or no cost 

Inc = Included in another category, or donated/in-kind service with no stated dollar 


Figure 3.1 Continued 

Two-Stage Competitions 
(with first stage open) 

Invited Competitions 
(one and two stage) 

Park Redevel- 


College Arts 

Cultural Arts 

of Art 


















































































tivities are all essential. Cutting one budget category because it 
initially seems less significant may lead to a flawed competition 

It is especially important not to reduce the budget for post- 
competition activities in favor of tasks that appear more critical 
during the earlier stages of the process. The post-competition 
budget will make the difference between using the results suc- 
cessfully or merely announcing the winners. 

Some costs may be reduced by accepting donations of service in 
return for public recognition. Printing firms, for example, may 
donate some staff time or materials for preparing documents. A 
college or other cultural institution might donate the use of its 
facility for the jury deliberations. General staff costs may also be 
reduced when the sponsor's staff is available to perform some 
functions. Cost cutting techniques are effective only if they do 
not jeopardize the effectiveness and fairness of the competi- 

3.1b Revenues 

Revenues from the entry or registration fees can be significant, 
especially in large national competitions where such revenues 
can cover five to twenty percent of the total cost. Fees should not 
be so high, however, that they discourage designers from enter- 
ing the competition or place an unfair economic burden on en- 
trants who must dedicate considerable time and money to pre- 
paring their submissions. 

Revenues from registration fees increase in direct proportion to 
some types of expenses such as printing, mailing and staff ser- 
vices. Consequently, two types of costs should be considered 
when setting these fees — fixed and variable costs. Drafting the 
program documents is, for instance, a fixed cost. Mailing these 
documents is a variable cost proportionate to the size of the 
initial audience for the announcement and the number of regis- 
trations and entrants. As the number of registrations and en- 
trants increases, there should be a planned, corresponding in- 
crease in revenues set aside to cover the additional variable costs. 
Unfortunately, there is no way to predict the number of registra- 
tions accurately. It depends on several factors including the size 
and type of prizes, eligibility restrictions, the design problem 
and the way the competition is announced and advertised. 


Some open competitions have a single registration fee to pur- 
chase both the program documents and the right to submit an 
entry for jurying. An ahernative method is to spUt the registra- 
tion into two payments so that the first purchases the program 
document and the second gives the competitor the right to sub- 
mit a solution. This latter procedure may be more equitable. 
Also, the split payment makes it easier to set both fees propor- 
tional to corresponding costs for the production of documents 
and administrative expenses. 

3.1c Cash Prizes and Long-Term Costs 

Cash prizes are a significant portion of the budget, but they are 
not the last disbursement in the competition process. Prizes and 
awards are followed by post-competition activities such as print- 
ing a book, granting a design commission or constructing a 

The important point is that cash prizes may be only the initial 
payment in a more substantial long-term investment. The award 
of a design commission may lead to much larger capital construc- 
tion costs. In design-build competitions, long-term costs may 
involve contractual agreements to sell or buy land or manage 
property. These long-term costs (and benefits) should be bal- 
anced against the short-term investment in cash prizes. 

3. Id Budget Preparation 

A competition budget is developed in several iterations, begin- 
ning with a preliminary budget prepared by the sponsor. This 
tentative budget is generally sufficient to make the first budget- 
ary allocations to hire a professional adviser or project director. 
The adviser or director can then prepare a detailed budget for the 
approval of the sponsor. 

Even after a final budget is approved, there may be subsequent 
modifications, requiring further review and approval. For exam- 
ple, jurors' fees and travel expenses cannot be accurately estimat- 
ed until the competition is well underway. The budget for pub- 
lishing or exhibiting the submissions cannot be estimated 
accurately until after the jurying is concluded. The operating 
budget should be managed flexibly with some leeway for these 
unpredictable expenses. 



The development of a schedule or work program is integral to the 
planning process. The schedule, like the budget, requires trade- 
offs. A competition for a complex building will require substan- 
tial time to research and establish functional requirements. Some 
competitions require more time to develop exhibits and cata- 
logues; others require more time to find and screen qualified 

Competition schedules may be subdivided into three basic 
phases which are illustrated in Figure 3.2. The first phase, pre- 
competition planning, includes all activities prior to the public 
announcement of the competition. The second phase is the for- 
mal competition, commencing with the announcement and end- 
ing with the jury's selections. Once begun, competitions em- 
body a relatively inflexible sequence of events and activities with 
limited opportunities for overlap or modification. The third 
phase, the post-competition activity, begins with the announce- 
ment of the results and may continue with negotiations, contract 
preparation, construction, development of catalogues and exhib- 
its, and/or archival preparation. 

3.2a Deadlines 

Each schedule has critical deadlines. The date and duration of 
the jurying process, for example, is virtually unchangeable once 
it has been established. Jurors are likely to have busy schedules 
and any proposed change in dates is unlikely to fit every juror's 

Other deadlines include the public announcement of the compe- 
tition, the distribution of program materials, and the completion 
of the question and answer period. Once these deadlines are 
locked into place, they cannot be changed without adverse con- 
sequences. Suppose the sponsor fails to meet an announced 
deadline for distributing program documents or mailing an- 
swers to competitors' questions. Such a delay can easily disrupt 
any designer's planned schedule to work on the competition and 
thereby reduce the number or quality of submissions. 

The competition schedule must also fit external time constraints 
and deadlines. Competitions for design commissions or design- 
develop contracts may be scheduled to fit legislative calendars, 
governmental review processes or financing strategies. Another 


constraint is timing the announcement of winners to fit the 
schedules of news media, professional journals, museums and 
galleries, printers and others involved in the dissemination of 
the competition results. Here too, failure to meet such deadlines 
will adversely affect the competition outcomes. 

3.2b Preparing the Work Schedule 

The adviser usually prepares a preliminary schedule for approval 
by the sponsor. Ideally, the more time available to define the 
problem, design the solutions and apply the results, the more 
likely the outcome will be successful. Competition schedules, 
however, should not be overextended. The adviser must esti- 
mate the proper balance and distribution of time for each critical 
activity: program preparation, initial design time, the question 
and answer period, subsequent design time, and post-competi- 
tion negotiations. 

What happens, for example if the adviser adds a few weeks to the 
preparation of competition documents rather than allowing the 
competitors' more time to prepare their design solutions? This 
decision gives the entrants less time for reviewing the program, 
digesting the information and responding effectively. On the 
other hand, a well-written and presented program may save the 
designers time and will probably lead to more responsive solu- 
tions. Such dilemmas are common and reinforce the need for 
proper scheduling. 

If scheduling problems arise, there may be a way to reallocate or 
spend additional funds to speed up activities. In some instances 
extra staff costs may be required to meet deadlines for preparing 
documents. In other cases the sponsor may have more time than 
money, and a lengthier schedule might lower costs for program- 
ming, printing and other activities. As noted above, the budget 
and the schedule are interdependent and ought to be planned 



The following schedule estimates the number of the week when activities are likely to be completed 
during a typical design competition. 



Open Open 
Competitions Competitions 
(One Stage) (Two Stage) 

RFQ's Invited 

(and Charettes) 

Preliminary planning 

Week 2 Week 2 

Week 1 Week 1 

Schedule and budget 

Week 4 Week 4 

Week 3 Week 3 

Jury selection completed 

Week 7 Week 7 

Week 5 Week 5 

First draft of the design 
problem completed in 
simple design projects 
(for major facilities or 
development projects 
add 6 to 12 weeks) 

Week 12 

Week 12 


Week 9 

Announcements and 
advertisements complete 

Week 13 

Week 13 

Week 17 

Week 17 


Figure 3.2 Continued 



Open Open RFQ's Invited 

Competitions Competitions Competitions 

(One Stage) (Two Stage) (and Charettes) 

Registration opens, 

RFQ is distributed 

Invitations begin 

Week 18 

Week 18 







Week 19 








Week 20 




Program documents 
approved and ready to 

Week 21 

Week 21 

Week 22 

Week 25 

Programs are mailed to 
registrants and design 

Responses to the RFQ are 
evaluated, competitors are 
selected, programs are 
mailed, and design begins 

Invited competitors agree 
to enter, programs are 
mailed, and design begins 

Week 22 

Week 22 





Week 23 





Week 26 

Registration closes, final 
mailing of program 

Week 23 

Week 23 



Competitors questions are 

Week 26 

Week 26 

Week 25 

Week 28 

Answers are prepared and 

Week 28 

Week 28 

Week 27 

Week 30 

Submissions are received by 

Week 34 

Week 34 

Week 30 

Week 33 

Jury deliberations 

Week 35 

Week 35 

Week 31 

Week 34 

Announcement of Winners 

Week 36 

Week 36 

Week 32 

Week 35 


Figure 3.2 (Continued) 



Open Open 
Competitions Competitions 
(One Stage) (Two Stage) 


(and Charettes) 

Review of finalists, 
invitation to compete in 
stage two 


Week 37 



Program modifications 


Week 38 



Team formation (if 
appropriate) and second 
design phase begins 


Week 38 



Submissions are received by 


Week 44 



fury deliberations 


Week 45 



Announcement of winners 


Week 45 





(One Stage) 

(Two Stage) 


(and Charettes) 

Initiate contract 

Week 37 

Week 47 

Week 33 

Week 36 

Complete text and graphics 
for catalogue and jury 

Week 42 

Week 52 

Week 36 

Week 39 

Finish preparations for 

Week 43 

Week 53 

Week 38 

Week 41 

Distribute catalogues and 
reports, exhibit opens 

Week 45 

Week 55 

Week 38 

Week 41 




In a conventional design process, the relationship between a 
client and designer provides ample opportunity for continuous 
discussion to clear up misunderstandings and raise new issues. 
Competitions, on the other hand, require a dramatically differ- 
ent form of communication between the client (sponsor) and de- 
signer (competitor). In competitions there is a formal, restricted 
and more precise dialogue between the sponsor and the com- 

In conventional situations, clients usually enter the design pro- 
cess with vague objectives and design priorities. The designer 
and client then exchange opinions freely as alternatives unfold 
and new problems and opportunities emerge. Both designers 
and clients realize that trade-offs, cut-backs and modifications 
will occur. In this conventional design process, open, uncon- 
strained dialogue is the only way to resolve the design problem 

In competitions the dialogue between the sponsor and competi- 
tors is neither frequent nor informal. Even in invited competi- 
tions there is far less dialogue than in the conventional design 
process. This is not necessarily unproductive. Structured, pre- 
cise communication between the sponsor and the competitors 
can set the scene for an equally successful, if not superior, design 
process. This will happen only if there is a clear understanding of 
each step in the process. 


The first step in the communication process is the official competi- 
tion announcement which solicits interest from potential competi- 
tors. It is the initial communication to the public and the profes- 


sion. The second round of communications is the program 
document which presents the competition rules and defines, in 
detail, the design problem. In contrast, many conventional de- 
sign processes fail because the client failed to clarify the prob- 
lem at the outset. 

Even with thorough program documents, there is always the 
possibility of omissions or ambiguities which may mislead the 
competitors. This dilemma can be resolved by the third step in 
the communications process — a formal exchange of questions 
and answers. The question and answer period focuses the intellec- 
tual curiosity and talent of many designers on one problem. This 
is a process of collective inquiry with intellectual resources and 
expertise that far exceeds any conventional design process. 

In two-stage competitions, there is an intermediate step in the 
communications process. The interval between the end of the 
first stage and the beginning of the second stage provides oppor- 
tunities for several types of communications, including formal 
exchange of documents, and informal meetings and personal 
conversations. This interim dialogue in a two-stage competition 
provides a valuable opportunity to reexamine, clarify and im- 
prove the program. 

There is still a final step in the communications process that 
begins when the jury makes its final decisions and the adviser 
notifies the winners. Typically this leads io face-to-face communica- 
tion between the sponsor and the winning competitors. In two- 
stage and some invited competitions, face-to-face communica- 
tions may occur earlier in the process during a meeting between 
the sponsor, adviser and the entrants, or during the on-site ac- 
tivities in a charette. 


The announcement is the point of no return. Prior to the an- 
nouncement, a competition can be canceled with a minimum of 
adverse consequences. 

After the announcement, canceling a competition may incur 
serious ethical and economic consequences — it is like canceling 
a wedding after the invitations have been sent. It may at first 
seem like a small step, but the public announcement of a compe- 
tition is a symbol of the sponsor's intent. It assures the community of 
designers that the competition will take place as promised. 



The selection of the type of announcement(s) should be based upon the number and type 
of competitors the sponsor wishes to attract. 

1. Advertisements Sponsors may advertise in: 

a. professional journals such as: 

• Progressive Architecture 

• A.I.A. Journal 

• Planning 

• Journal of Architectural Education. 

b. newsletters of professional associations, such as: 

• American Institute of Architects (AIA) 

• American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) 

• American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) 

• American Planning Association (APA) 

• American Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) 

2. Direct Mail Sponsors also may announce competitions by direct 

mailing. After the assembly of an appropriate mailing 
list, the sponsor may: 

a. develop a large format poster to be sent to: 

• design schools and departments 

• design firms 

• professional societies 

• cultural institutions and agencies 

b. prepare form letters to be sent to: 

• heads of design schools 

• principals of design firms 

• individual designers 

• directors of design societies 

• directors of cultural institutions 

3. Personal 

In invited competitions or RFQ's (where there will be 
a limited number of entrants), the adviser or sponsor 
should contact potential competitors by telephone and 
with personal letters. 


Development of the announcement should begin during prelimi- 
nary planning, allowing ample time for review and modification 
prior to its final approval. The style and content of the announce- 
ment must attract the attention and arouse the interest of good 
designers. The quality of the announcement and its form of 
distribution have a direct relationship to the number and quality 
of the entrants. 

More than one type of announcement may be required to attract 
a broad spectrum of qualified designers (Figures 4.1 and 4.2). An 
open national competition normally requires a large format post- 
er, advertising copy for professional journals, and a direct mail 
campaign. Substantial time and effort will be needed for the 
graphic design, printing and distribution of the announcements. 
The bulk mailing of posters will require assembly of an appropri- 
ate mailing list, printing and application of mailing labels, and 
folding and sorting the posters. Mailing lists may be obtained 
from professional design associations or competition consul- 
tants. Two or three months of lead time will be necessary to place 
announcements in professional journals targeted to specific 
groups of competitors. 

The announcement also informs the general public of the forth- 
coming competition, helping to attract support from private or- 
ganizations, public agencies and special interest groups. Typical- 
ly, public announcements include press conferences and press 
releases for local media and national journals. Press releases, for 
example, may broadly describe the competition process, past 
competitions of related interest and the most newsworthy fea- 
tures of the current competition. 


The program is a working tool for the competitors and a demon- 
stration of the design standards the sponsor has set for the 
competition. The program documents should be attractive, well 
organized and easy to use. This section focuses on the form of 
the documents and the publication process, while the contents of 
the program are elaborated in Chapter Five. 

If competitors cannot find clear information quickly, their work 
will be impaired. Consequently, resources must be set aside for 
graphic design, technical writing, photography, drawing and 
reproduction. Two to three weeks ought to be scheduled for 



The intent of the announcement is to attract potential competitors. The typical content 
of the announcement is listed below. 

1. Design 

The design problem or challenge statement, should 

a. major goals 

b. the significance of the design problem 

c. key constraints. 

2. Awards 

The awards and prizes should be described, 

a. the number and hierarchy of awards 

b. all cash prizes 

c. any commissions, or contracts 

d. negotiation procedures or similar conditions. 

3. Deadlines 

Of particular interest to the potential competitors is 
the schedule and associated deadlines, including the 
dates for: 

a. the opening and closing of registration 

b. the mailing of program documents 

c. the receipt of design submissions 

d. the jury deliberations 

e. the public announcement of the winners. 

4. Eligibility 

6. Inquiries 

7. Additional 

These should be stated prominently. 

5. Fees A statement of the cost of registration and payment 


The announcement should state the sponsor's or 
adviser's name and address, along with a telephone 
number for inquiries. 

Whenever possible the announcement should contain: 

a. the names of, and key information about the: 

• sponsor 

• individual jurors 

• professional adviser 

b. anticipated presentation requirements 

c. implementation plans and post-competition activities. 


A New American House 

Madsen and Kuester, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

This large format poster helped advertised and described the competi- 
tion which attracted over 360 entrants. The design became a theme 
used in other competition documents. 



Tom Ashworth, FED, Saint Paul, Minnesota. 

Many options were considered for the large format poster for the Saint 
Paul Cityscape Competition. 


Tom Ashworlh, PED, Saint Paul, Minnesota. 

One of four final-round alternatives considered for the Saint Paul 
Cityscape Competition poster. 


Cityscape Design Competition • 1985 
Saint Paul, Minnesota 

fyatioiiai Liiciowiiici 

Tom Ashworth, PED, Saint Paul, Minnesota. 

The final design selected for the poster, program cover, and final report 
cover in the Saint Paul Cityscape Competition. 


review and approval of all drafts and the final copy, while an- 
other month may be needed for photographic reproduction and 
printing. The entire process can take two to three months. With 
more complex programs that contain maps, technical data, archi- 
tectural drawings and photographs, the production process may 
begin before the final draft is approved. Figure 4.3 illustrates a 
range of production times for program documents. 

The program package should be distributed to the competitors 
by first class mail so that they all have the opportunity to begin 
the competition as soon as possible. In some cases the first 
mailing of the program documents is scheduled to occur before 
the official closing date for registration. This gives early regis- 
trants more time to work on the design, and allows other design- 
ers to register at the last minute and receive the program at a later 

The number of program documents to be printed should exceed by 
as much as 50% the estimated number of registrants. Additional 
programs are required for the jurors, staff assistants and the 
press. After a competition there are generally requests for copies 
of the program. For example, the programs may be requested by 
college faculty who wish to use the competition problem as the 
basis for an educational exercise. Other requests for program 
documents come from design associations who want a record of 
the competition, or from potential competition sponsors. Broad 
distribution of the program documents helps the sponsor gain 
added recognition from the design professions and the general 
public. While the initial fixed printing costs can be high, the cost 
of printing additional programs is marginal. It is far better to 
have extra program packages than to have an undersupply. 


Regardless of the time and effort which goes into the develop- 
ment of the program there probably will be omissions and ambi- 
guities which will require subsequent correction. The question 
and answer period is used to allow for such changes. The ques- 
tions and answers become an integral part of the program — they 
are an official addendum which must be agreed to and accepted 
by the sponsor, jurors and competitors. 

They afford sponsors and competitors alike their only opportuni- 
ty to clear up misunderstandings. Competitors may discover 
significant dilemmas, based on their own design investigation. 


The question and answer period allows them to communicate 
these discoveries and receive a thorough official, written re- 
sponse. Furthermore, when similar questions are raised by sev- 
eral competitors, it may be a signal that there is a significant 
problem or an unforeseen opportunity that should be investigat- 
ed by the sponsor and adviser. 

The adviser has the primary responsibility for promptly formu- 
lating the answers with the assistance of the sponsor, the adviso- 
ry panel and the jurors. Depending upon the magnitude and 
content of the competition, there may be anywhere from a hun- 
dred to a thousand questions. The larger the number the more 
likely there will be duplicate (or near duplicate) questions. Ques- 
tions and answers should be organized to help competitors lo- 
cate information easily and, equally important, gain insights by 
reviewing the concerns expressed by other competitors. 

Answers should be provided only to those questions which are 
reasonable and relevant to the goals of the competition. A ques- 
tion concerning the personal tastes of a juror or confidential 
economic data about the sponsor should be judged inappropriate 
and no answer need he provided. A request for detailed engineering 
data in a building competition, for example, may not be an- 
swered because it is at a level of detail not relevant to the compe- 
tition. Similarly, questions might not be answered if they require 
excessive resources such as conducting a site survey or taking 
new soil borings. Some requests can be answered by referring 
the designers to articles, books and readily available public docu- 

The question and answer period should occur roughly one-third 
of the way between the close of registration and the deadline for 
submissions. This gives competitors sufficient time before the 
question and answer period to review the program, experiment 
with design concepts and then formulate significant questions. 
This cannot happen if the deadline for submitting questions is 
scheduled too early. Additionally, there must be sufficient time 
after the answers have been received, for competitors to respond 
and modify their design solutions. 

All questions should be submitted anonymously and in writing. 
Signatures, stationery letterheads or other forms of personal 
identification should be removed in case the sponsor, jurors, 
staff or advisory panel members review the correspondence. 
Questions and answers should be distributed by first class mail 
to all competitors and jurors simultaneously. 








Problem Description 

And Rules 

Initial Draft 

1-2 days 

1 week 

3-5 weeks 

Edit and Review 

Not applicable 

1 week 

1-3 mrks 

(sponsor and jurors) 


1-2 days 

2-4 weeks 
(graphic designer) 

1-3 weeks 
(graphic designer) 


Not applicable 

1 uvek 

(photographer if 

1-2 weeks 

Review and 

2-4 days 

1-2 weeks 

(sponsor and adviser) 

1-3 uveks 

(sponsor and jurors) 


Not applicable 

2-3 iix;eks 
(outside printer) 

2-4 weeks 
(outside printer) 

Mailing and 

Several months 
(sponsor staff): lead 
time depends on pub- 

1 week 

(sponsor staff): re- 
quires mailing list 

1 la'ck 
(sponsor staff) 


Figure 4.3 Continued 





Additional Studies 
For Major 

Jury Report 


2-4 weeks 
(sponsor staff) 

2-3 months 
(consultants and 

1 week 
(adviser and 
designated jurors) 

1-3 weeks 
(adviser or profes- 
sional writer) 

1-2 weeks 

2-4 weeks 

(adviser and sponsor) 

1-3 days 

1 week 

(adviser or sponsor) 

1-3 weeks 
(graphic designer, 

Not applicable 

1-2 weeks 
(graphic designer) 

2-4 weeks 
(graphic designer) 

1 week 

(photographer if 

Not applicable 

1-2 weeks 

2-4 weeks 

Not applicable 

2-4 weeks 

(adviser and sponsor) 

1-3 weeks 
(adviser, jurors, 
and sponsor) 

1 week 

2-4 weeks 
(outside printer) 

Not applicable 

2-3 weeks 
(outside printer) 

2-4 weeks 
(outside printer) 

1 week 
(sponsor staff) 

Not applicable 

4-6 weeks 
(sponsor staff): re- 
quires mailing list 

2-4 weeks 
(sponsor staff): re- 
quires mailing list 



In some invited competitions and on-site charette competitions, 
there are opportunities for face-to-face communication prior to 
the jury deHberations. There may be a scheduled briefing or 
sequence of meetings between the sponsor, adviser and the de- 
signers. Such meetings also occur with the first stage finalists in a 
two-stage competition. 

Face-to-face dialogue should be carefully organized to eliminate 
any private or exclusive conversations between the competitors 
and the adviser, sponsor or jurors. In all cases there should be a 
written record of the meetings and individual conversations 
with competitors. This record should be sent to all competitors 
and jurors. The point again, is to use the opportunity for direct 
dialogue to clarify and improve the problem statement. 

In two-stage competitions, face-to-face communication is slight- 
ly different. After the first stage, the jurors, in consultation with 
the sponsor and adviser, can develop an expanded program 
statement for a more detailed second-stage design. Whenever 
possible new recommendations should be presented to second- 
stage finalists in a face-to-face meeting. This permits a direct 
exchange of ideas and information paralleling that in a conven- 
tional client-designer relationship. New program recommenda- 
tions plus the written record of any discussions with finalists 
must be documented and distributed to all finalists and jurors. 


Face-to-face communication occurs in almost all competitions 
after the jurying, when the sponsor meets the winning design- 
er(s). This meeting is often the beginning of a substantial process 
of negotiation, especially in competitions for design commis- 
sions or design-build and design-develop contracts. During this 
period, modifications of the winning design are common. 

The opportunity for such post-competition communication does 
not imply that the initial problem statement can be less thor- 
ough. It implies only that minor programmatic errors are not 
likely to have severe consequences. During these post-competi- 
tion meetings, the sponsor should be prepared to discuss a broad 
range of issues with the winner. The first face-to-face meeting is 
not only a social event — it is the occasion to start using the 
competition results. 




In architectural practice a program presents the cHent's architec- 
tural needs in technical, functional and behavioral terms. In 
competitions, the word "program" has a broader meaning in- 
cluding not only the definition of the design problem, but also 
procedural rules and requirements, the awards, information 
about the sponsor and issues which should influence the design 
solutions. A competition program refers to both a product and a 
process and is the most critical competition document. There are 
three categories of information common to most competition 
programs: general guidelines, a description of the design problem 
and supplementary information. Each of these three major program 
areas is discussed in this chapter. 

The key to a successful program is a careful distinction between 
requirements, recommendations and options. Requirements in- 
clude both features of the presentation necessary for the jury 
deliberations and features of the design necessary to solve the 
sponsor's problem. 

Recommendations include those features which are highly desir- 
able but may not be necessary for either an effective jury evalua- 
tion or a good design solution. Options are possibilities which 
some competitors may find helpful but which, by themselves, do 
not imply a good submission. 

A requirement, if violated, must result in disqualification. Ignor- 
ing recommendations, however, should do no more than lessen 
the competitor's chance of receiving an award. Options, on the 
other hand, should be relatively neutral and accepting or reject- 
ing an option should have no predetermined impact on the 
competitor's probability of success. 


This three-way distinction between what the competitors must 
do, what they should do and what they may do is elaborated 
throughout this chapter. By balancing requirements, recommen- 
dations and options, the competition program can give good 
designers room for creativity and increase the number of useful 


The program should be developed jointly by the sponsor, the 
adviser and the advisory panel. The portion of the program 
which defines the design problem may be developed by other 
consultants under separate contracts. In a design-build competi- 
tion, for example, a separate consultant might develop an eco- 
nomic market analysis for use as part of the program. In complex 
projects such as a performing arts center, city hall, hotel or 
educational facility, an outside expert should be retained to de- 
velop or assist in drafting a facilities program. In some cases, plans 
for a competition do not even begin until after such a facilities 
program has been prepared. 

The professional adviser, with the sponsor's approval, should be 
responsible for the final draft of all program documents. Even if a 
facilities program has been developed previously, the adviser 
should still adapt this information to fit the constraints of the 
design process created by the competition. 

The program should be reviewed and approved in writing by the 
sponsor, the jurors, and others with relevant authority. If the 
sponsor is a local government agency, for example, elected offi- 
cials may have to approve the final document. If the sponsor is a 
private organization then a board of directors may be required to 
approve the program. The review and approval process should 
also be described in the program document for the benefit of the 


The guidelines must clearly state the authority, rights and obliga- 
tions of the sponsor, jurors, adviser and competitors. Figure 5.1 
lists the basic categories of information contained in competition 
programs. The contents vary with each type of competition. An 
invited competition, for example, may have no rules governing 
eligibility, while a competition for a design idea may have limited 



The following represents the information contained in a typical design competition 

1. Introduction 

This statement should include: 

a. a brief description of the design problem 

b. the general structure of the competition 

c. the sponsor's plans to use the competition results. 

2. Personnel 

The program should describe the authority, 
responsibilities and background of the persons who 
will conduct the competition, including: 

a. the sponsor 

b. the professional adviser 

c. the jurors. 

3. Schedule and 

4. Eligibility 

5. Design Problem 

The program must present the schedule of activities 
and precise deadlines, including dates for the: 

a. opening and closing of registration 

b. mailing dates of the program documents 

c. receipt of questions and mailing of answers 

d. receipt of submissions 

e. jury deliberations 

f. announcement and notification of the winners. 

The rules should describe: 

a. any restrictions on eligibility 

b. methods of confirmation 

c. special conditions, such as afilliations with other firms. 

The heart of the program is the description of the 
design problem. This should contain: 

a. the general goals and priorities 

b. specific aesthetic, functional and technical objectives 

c. design constraints and special conditions 

d. design attributes or components which are required, 
recommended and optional 

e. supplementary information such as: 

• technical data 

• maps, diagrams or photographs relating to the site or 

• applicable laws, codes or regulations 

f. relevant commentary about the design problem by the 
sponsor, advisory panel or competition staff. 


Figure 5.1 Continued 

Presentation and 

All presentation and submission requirements must 
be described precisely^ including the: 

a. size, shape and dimension of drawings (required, 
recommended and optional) 

b. content, scale and location of drawings (required, 
recommended and optional) 

c. presentation techniques and media such as pen and ink, 
pencil or color (required, recommended and optional) 

d. type, amount and location of any written narratives 
(required, recommended and optional) 

e. guidelines for presenting scale models, or model 

f. acceptability or advisability of submitting original 
drawings or reproductions 

g. manner in which the presentations will be displayed 
during the jury deliberations. 

7. Awards and The program must clearly describe the awards and 

Prizes prizes including: 

a. the type and amount of cash prizes 

b. the procedures, if any, for awarding design commissions 
and other service contracts 

c. the hierarchy of awards 

d. hors de concours and other special categories 

e. other special conditions pertaining to the awards. 

8. Jury Authority 

The authority of the jury in making the awards should 
be specified. Typically the jury: 

a. has sole authority for determining winning entries 

b. may vacate specific awards and/or declare ties 

c. may have limited discretionary powers to 

• vary the number of honorable mentions 

• recommend submissions for exhibition or publication 

• designate special awards of merit. 


Figure 5.1 Continued 

9. Communications 

In open, anonymous competitions the procedures for 
communications between the competitors and the 
sponsor or adviser must be stated, including: 

a. prohibitions against the use of signatures and other 
identifying marks when submitting questions or 

b. prohibitions, if any, against personal communications 
with the sponsor or adviser other than the prescribed 
quest ion-and-answer procedure. 

In invited competitions, the second half of two-stage 
competitions and some RFQ's there must be special 
provisions describing: 

a. the time and place for sponsor-competitor dialogue 

b. regulations concerning the personnel who may be involved 
in such dialogue. 

10. Post- 
Plans and 

Post-competition plans normally address the use of 
winning and non-winning design solutions. The 
program must contain statements concerning: 

a. the ownership of the submissions 

b. the ownership of the design ideas and procedures to ensure 
that there will be no unauthorized use of design ideas 

c. the rights of the sponsor and selected competitors 
regarding commissions, service contracts and construction 
or development contracts 

d. plans for keeping or returning winning and non-winning 

e. the sponsor's right to exhibit, reproduce or publish the 
submissions, and any plans for such activities 

f. plans for other post -compel it ion activities, such as 
conferences and forums. 

11. Competition An entry form should be part of the program 

Entry Form document. This form should include specific 

instructions regarding its completion and delivery as 
part of the design submisson. It should include: 

the name(s) and address(es) of the competitors 

telephone numbers 

authorized signatures 

a signed statement in which the competitors agree 

to abide by all the rules and requirements of the 

competition and any conditions regarding awards, 

prizes and post-competition activities. 


presentation requirements but complex guidelines for the publi- 
cation of submissions. A design-build competition may have 
rules governing all issues, in particular, any subsequent contrac- 
tual arrangements. 

5.2a Eligibility 

Eligibility criteria should be broad enough to attract a wide range 
of competitors who have the skills and knowledge to meet the 
sponsor's needs. To ensure this, eligibility requirements are of- 
ten stated in terms of professional registration or licensure, dem- 
onstrated talent and experience, organizational or staff capacity, 
geographic location or institutional affiliation. At one extreme, 
eligibility in a competition seeking general design concepts for 
promotional purposes should be unconstrained. At the other 
extreme, a competition for the rights to own and develop proper- 
ty should be highly restricted, involving requirements for finan- 
cial capabilities and demonstrated expertise in completing high 
quality design projects. Figure 5.2 outlines some common eligi- 
bility criteria for different types of competitions. 

In open competitions eligibility requirements must appear in 
both the announcement and the program documents. State- 
ments concerning eligibility must be precise and easy to apply. 
An eligibility criterion requiring state architectural registration, 
for example, can be applied easily by requiring entrants to sub- 
mit their registration numbers or equivalent proof. On the other 
hand, eligibility criteria requiring designers to have specialized 
expertise related to a specific type of problem may be more 
difficult to apply in an open competition. These criteria are more 
typical of invited competitions, particularly those that begin with 
a request-for-qualifications (RFQ). 

In an RFQ competition, eligibility is, in itself, a form of competi- 
tion. The sponsor, with the aid of the adviser and perhaps a 
review panel, formally evaluates the credentials of designers 
responding to the RFQ and then selects the best entrants. This 
procedure is more extensive relative to an open competition and 
can be applied using more comprehensive and judgmental crite- 
ria. The RFQ announcement should clearly state who will make 
the initial selection, how they will do it, and the evaluation 
criteria which will be used. 

In invited competitions, formal eligibility requirements are irrel- 
evant, since designers need not submit credentials for review. 


Instead, the sponsor initiates the search with the assistance of 
the adviser. Competitors are invited to submit credentials only 
after they have been identified as candidates. This screening 
process often involves review of published design projects, in- 
depth interviews, confidential inquiries and, occasionally, per- 
sonal inspection of past projects. 

5.2b Registration Fees and Procedures 

All competitions have some form of registration process and 
associated fee. While the fees offset some competition costs they 
also serve other purposes. Traditionally, fees have been consid- 
ered a good-faith commitment by the competitors. Fees also act as a 
filtering mechanism, by discouraging designers who might reg- 
ister capriciously and would, therefore, be unlikely to prepare 
and submit a solution. On the other hand, if the fees are set too 
high, this may discourage serious designers from entering the 
competition. The appropriate amount, structure and use of the 
fees for open competitions is presented in Figure 5.3. 

The deadlines and fees for registration in open competitions 
must be stated prominently in the announcements. Registrations 
must be submitted by competitors prior to their receipt of the 
program documents. 

In RFQ and invited competitions, registration generally occurs 
after the competitors have been selected. No entry fee should be 
required since it would generate little revenue and serve no 
meaningful purpose. In fact, the concept of the entry fee is often 
reversed in some invited competitions, where the sponsor pays 
the designer a substantial fee to submit a solution. The sample 
budgets shown in Figure 3.1 include some invited competitions 
and on-site charettes where the design fees range from $1250 to 
$5000 per entrant. 

5.2c Deadlines and Deliveries 

All competitors must meet the stated deadlines for registration, 
forwarding questions and submitting the solution. In turn, the 
sponsor is obligated to meet deadlines for mailing program doc- 
uments, responding to questions, conducting the jury and an- 
nouncing the winners. All deadlines should be stated promi- 
nently in the program. Dates and times should be defined 
unambiguously using phrases such as the time of a postmark, the 
time of receipt at the sponsor's address, or the local time at the sponsor's 
address. Figure 5.4 lists these issues. 




From Least to 
Most Restrictive 


Promotion, Resource Design Construction 

Education Development Commission or 


Registration fee only 




Citizenship or residency 




Design students in qualified 





Design students under faculty 





Licensed designers in 
appropriate professions (e.g., 
architects, engineers and/or 





Licensed designers in specified 
geographical area (e.g., 
designers registered in city or 




Licensed designer on approved 
list (e.g., firms qualified for 
government work) 





Licensed designer with 
specified credentials (e.g., 
restoration, health facilitites or 
construction management) 





Licensed designers in firms 
with given organizational 
capacity (e.g., reputation for 
effective management) 





i^ = Recommended 

O = Optional 

X = Not Recommended 


Figure 5.2 Continued 


From Least to 
Most Restrictive 


Open RFQ Invited (or Two-Stage 

(One-Stage) Charette) Competition 

Registration fee only 





Citizenship or residency 





Design students in qualified 





Design students under faculty 




Licensed designers in 
appropriate professions (e.g., 
architects, engineers and/or 





Licensed designers in specified 
geographical area (e.g., 
designers registered in city or 


Licensed designer on approved 
list (e.g., firms qualified for 
government work) 



Licensed designer with 
specified credentials (e.g., 
restoration, health facilitites or 
construction management) 





Licensed designers in firms 
with given organizational 
capacity (e.g., reputation for 
effective management) 






\^ = Recommended 

O = Optional 

X = Not Recommended 


The consequences of not meeting a deadline should be empha- 
sized. In the case of a late registration, the competitor should not 
be allowed to enter and the registration fee returned. A question 
that arrives after the close of the official deadline for questions 
should be ignored. Submissions that arrive after the delivery 
deadline should not be shown to the jury (and probably should 
remain unopened). 

In large competitions, hundreds of submissions must be safely stored 
before they are unwrapped, catalogued and examined in preparation 
for the jurying process. 


Figure 5.3 







Amount of 


Maximizes the number of 

Increases the potential for 

Registration Fee 



capricious solutions and 


generates less revenue. 


Eliminates some capricious 

May eliminate some 



potentially serious 


Eliminates almost all 

Will probably eliminate 

(over $100) 

capricious entries and 
generates the maximum 

some serious competitors. 

Single or Split 

Single fees: 

Simpler to manage. 

Less fair to competitors. 



since they must make 

competitor makes 

complete payment prior to 

one payment both 

deciding whether or not to 

for the program 

submit a solution. 

documents and for 

the right to submit 

a solution. 

Split fee: 

Encourages serious 

More difficult to manage 


competitors to submit, and 

and makes it more 

competitor makes 

allows others to decide not 

difficult to estimate 

one early payment 

to submit. 


to purchase the 


documents and a 

separate payment, 

at a later date, for 

the right to submit 

a solution. 

Allocation of 

Allocation to 

Will assist in offsetting 

Amount of revenue is 



fixed costs. 

uncertain and therefore 



cannot be relied upon to 
meet required expenses. 

Allocation to 

Ensures partial budget for 

Does not offset the fixed 


publications and 

costs of the competition. 


dissemination of 
competition results. 


In addition to deadlines, other requirements for the deHvery of 
submissions must be stated clearly. For example, government 
and some private mail services have specific rules concerning the 
size and weight of packages and the costs, liabilities and timeli- 
ness of delivery. This information should be checked beforehand 
and may be included in the program documents, along with a 
statement that the sponsor has no responsibility for the safe and 
timely delivery of the submissions. 

Packaging guidelines are also important. Some open competi- 
tions require the submission of work on rigid boards, while 
others require drawings to be rolled and mailed in tubes. Regard- 
less of the delivery technique, opening and disposing of several 
hundred containers and displaying all the work in a large, open 
competition can easily take two or three days, even with extra 
staff support. 

5. 2d Presentation Guidelines 

Guidelines for the presentation of solutions should be based on 
the nature of the design problem, the information needed by the 
jurors, and the post-competition use of the submissions. Presen- 
tation rules must facilitate equitable, timely and accurate com- 
parisons of the design proposals. 

Overly strict presentation requirements may inhibit a competi- 
tor's ability to communicate a good solution. If there are too 
many presentation requirements competitors may be forced to 
include drawings which are unimportant, thus precluding the 
presentation of potentially significant information. Presentation 
requirements which are too lax, however, may fail to include 
drawings which relate directly to important design issues or 
evaluative criteria. Figure 5.5 lists various types of presentation 
requirements, recommendations and options. 

In open competitions jurors must evaluate a large number of 
submissions in a restricted time period. It is common to review 
hundreds of solutions in just two to three days. In these circum- 
stances, requiring a large presentation (such as three or more 
drawings, each 30 inches by 40 inches) will make it difficult for 
jurors to compare the solutions efficiently and fairly. Moreover, 
many designers may be dissuaded from entering competitions 
which have overly extensive presentation requirements, espe- 
cially if they can enter equally rewarding competitions with far 
less demanding presentation requirements. 




All competitions have several critical deadlines that fall into two general 

Sponsor deadlines are the: 

a. mailing and distribution of the program documents 

b. mailing and distribution of the questions and answers 

c. jury deliberations and final selections 

d. public announcement of the competition results. 

Competitor deadlines are the: 

a . receipt of registra t ion fees 

b. receipt of questions 

c. receipt of submissions. 


Delivery requirements must be precise and prominently presented. An 
example of such a statement might be: 

''Submissions must be postmarked by . . . (hour) . . . p.m., . . . (date) . . ., 
local time . . . (location) . . ., and received no later than . . . (hour) . . . 
p.m., . . . (date) . . ., local time at the following address: . . . (sponsor's 
address) . . . Submissions sent by private or public mail services must bear the 
official postmark indicating when the submission was received by that service." 

It is advisable to add a statement to the effect that: 

". . . neither the sponsor nor the professional adviser will bear any responsibility 
for the safe or timely delivery of the competition submissions." 


Presentation requirements are generally greater for entrants in 
invited competitions than open ones, and also for the finalists in 
the second half of a two-stage competition. In this case, juries 
typically have more time to examine each presentation. Com- 
petitors are more likely to invest their time because of the in- 
creased probability of success and the added prestige associated 
with invited competitions. 

Presentation guidelines should address the way in which sub- 
missions will be handled during and after the jurying. Boards, 
for example, may be mounted on walls, taped together, hinged 
and so on. The program should require the use of appropriate 
materials and state exactly how presentations will be shown to 
the jury. Presentation guidelines often indicate that drawings or 
boards will be sequenced horizontally with flush edges, so that 
the adjoining drawings create a larger graphic composition. 

Presentation guidelines may also relate to the post-competition 
use of submissions for exhibits, catalogues and subsequent 
graphic reproductions. Specifying only black and white draw- 
ings, for example, will decrease printing costs. Requiring the use 
of smaller boards or drawings (such as 20 inches by 30 inches) 
often facilitates shipping and other arrangements for exhibits. 
These considerations are particularly relevant to competitions 
with promotional and educational goals. 

5.2e Anonymity 

In most competitions it is standard practice to require anonymity 
of the designers until the jury has made its final decisions. The 
only exceptions to this practice are on-site charcttcs or well publi- 
cized invited competitions with renown designers — and even in 
these cases anonymity in the jurying process should be encour- 
aged. Anonymity not only protects the competitors against bi- 
ased treatment owing to authorship, but it also protects sponsors 
and jurors against accusations of such treatment. Rules for ano- 
nymity typically state that no personal identification is permitted 
anywhere on the submissions. Names of authors are traditional- 
ly submitted in a sealed envelope attached to the submission or 
in some other manner specified on the entry form. 

Some designers are ineligible to compete in anonymous competi- 
tions due to unusual circumstances, such as being a business 
associate of a juror or a member of the sponsor's staff. These 
designers, and others who so choose, may submit solutions in a 




Competition presentations should include required, recommended and optional features, 
which may be defined in the program using statements such as: 

REQUIREMENTS: "The following are mandatory features of the presentation. 
The professional adviser will review all submissions for 
compliance with these requirements and designate 
submissions which fail to meet these requirements as being 
ineligible for an award. " 

RECOMMEN- "The following are recommended features of the 

DATIONS: presentation. Complying with these recommendations will 

increase the efficiency with which the jurors can evaluate the 
relative merits of a submission. While competitors are urged 
to follow these recommendations, failure to do so will not 
lead to disqualification. Competitors must use their own 
judgment as to whether conformance to these 
recommendations will better communicate the merits of their 
design proposal." 


"The following are optional features of the presentation, 
suggested solely to illustrate the range of opportunities 
available to the competitors. Inclusion or exclusion of these 
options is not expected to have a predeterminable impact, 
either favorable or unfavorable, on the jury's ability to 
evaluate the solutions. Competitors must use their own 
judgment in accepting or rejecting these options." 


Figure 5.5 Continued 

For open competitions and competitions for promotion, 
educational or resource development 





1. Number and size of 




2. Orientation of boards 
(e.g., vertical or 




3. Type of drawings (e.g. 
plans, sections and 




4. Location of drawings 




5. Scale of drawings 




6. Orientation of plans, 




7. Presentation media,(e.g. 
ink, pencil, and model 




8. Labels, diagrams and 




9. Quantitative data (e.g. 
areas and volumes) 




10. Scale models 




Key: All = All presentation features of this type should he at this degree of restriction 

Most = Most presentation features of this type should be at this degree of restriction 

Some = Some presentation features of this type should he at this degree of restriction 

Few = Few presentation features of this type should he at this degree of restriction 

None = No presentation features of this type should be at this degree of restriction 


Figure 5.5 Continued 




For invited competitions, RFQ's and competitions for 

commissions, design-build or design-development 




1. Number and size of 




2. Orientation of boards 
(e.g., vertical or 




3. Type of drawings (e.g. 
plans, sections and 




4. Location of drawings 




5. Scale of drawings 




6. Orientation of plans, 




7. Presentation media,(e.g. 
ink, pencil, and model 




8. Labels, diagrams and 




9. Quantitative data (e.g. 
areas and volumes) 




10. Scale models 





separate category in which their names are made known to the 
jury. Such submissions are referred to as hors de concours (or 
"outside the competition"). 

Historically, the designation of hors de concours submissions re- 
fers to any entry that violates any programmatic requirement 
(not just rules for anonymity) but may still receive some type of 
recognition. Here, however, the term is used exclusively to refer 
to entries where designers violate only the rule for anonymity, 
with full prior understanding that their work is ineligible for any 
official award. If hors de concours submissions are expected and 
considered desirable, provisions for them should be stated in the 

5.2f Awards 

The program should describe precisely all awards and associated 
outcomes. Typically, the first place prize, its cash award and 
contingent rights and obligations are emphasized. The rights 
and obligations of all the winners — not just first place — must 
be stated fully in the initial program document. Figure 5.6 lists 
prizes and awards for different competitions. 

Generally, the jury is required to select first, second and third 
place winners. They also may have the option to declare a tie for 
first, second or third place. The number of honorable mentions 
or awards of merit may be fixed or optional. Again, these provi- 
sions must be stated in the program. 

The precise wording of the awards is critical. If, for example, the 
the first place solution is unsatisfactory due to a significant 
change in the sponsor's needs, then there may be a valid reason 
and ethical procedure for implementing a different award-win- 
ning solution. (Section 7.1 in Chapter Seven and Figure 1.4 in 
Chapter One elaborate this issue.) Even rules for selecting non- 
winning entries for publication or exhibition must be clearly 
presented. For instance, the jury may have only advisory powers 
in this regard while the final authority rests with the sponsor or 

The rules should state that the adviser and not the jury has the 
sole authority to disqualify submissions which have violated 
programmatic requirements. In rare cases, disqualified entries 
are shown to the jury and even receive some form of informal 
recognition (Section 6.5 in Chapter Six discusses this issue.) The 


point here is that the rules for, and consequences of, disqualifica- 
tion should be written into the program as part of the agreement 
among the sponsor, jurors, competitors and adviser. 

5.2g Ownership and Use of Submissions 

The program document must state explicitly the respective rights 
of the sponsor and competitors with regard to the use of submis- 
sions subsequent to the outcome of the competition. It is impor- 
tant that the sponsor's intentions regarding commissions, publi- 
cations, construction contracts and other use of the work are 
clearly conveyed to competitors prior to entry, to ensure that no 
misunderstandings arise at a later stage. Advisers and sponsors 
should be painstaking in their attention to this matter, seeking 
expert legal counsel if necessary to ensure that entrants are fully 
informed of the potential use of their design presentations. 

This is equally important with regard to designs which are not 
selected as winners, which the sponsor may wish to exhibit or 
publish in subsequent promotional or educational material. 
These conditions should be conveyed to the prospective com- 
petitors, and agreed to in writing by all entrants on the competi- 
tion entry form. 

The actual ownership of the designer's work is also a significant 
matter. The Federal Copyright Act of 1976 can provide protection 
of designer's drawings under certain circumstances. Patent law, 
an altogether more complex area, can give protection to ideas in 
the use of industrial products, furnishings, technological innova- 
tions or the like — although the process to secure a patent is 
much more difficult and rarely used by architects. 

It is probably unnecessary to overly complicate the competition 
by trying to legislate such issues. Instead, to ensure that the 
sponsor's intentions can be met and that the entrants' rights are 
respected and maintained, the program document should em- 
brace the entrants' rights of ownership of the design ideas (even 
if the entrant is not a licensed or registered professional) while 
specifically outlining the procedures whereby the sponsor can 
make use of those ideas. 

Typically, the first, second and third place awards will contain 
explicit provisions regarding use of the designs, financial awards 
and future contractual relationships with the selected design- 
er(s). If negotiations between the sponsor and selected designers 





Open Invited/KfQ 


First Place 

Cash prize: 40% to 60% of total prize 

Other: may include commission or 

Second Place 

Cash prize: 20% to 30% of total prize 

Other: may include secondary 
negotiating rights 

Third Place 

Cash prize: 10% to 20% of total prize 

Other: may include subsequent 
negotiating rights 


(or Award 

of Merit) 

Each cash prize: 5% to 10% of total 
prize money; or 



Other: no cash prize, recognition only 




First Tier 

(First Award, Winner) 

Cash prizes: equal prizes 3 to 5 times 
greater than second tier cash prizes 



Second Tier 
(Award, Honorable 
Mention, Award of 

Cash prizes: 2 to 3 times the number 
of prizes in first tier, but less than 
33% of the wlue of a top prize; or 

Other: no cash prize, secondary 


First Stage 
(Finalist or Winner) 

Cash prizes: equal cash amounts for 
winning (there may also be an 
additional fee paid to finalists who 
agree to enter stage tuv) 

Other: finalist has the right to cuter 
stage tuK) (may be contingent upon 
special conditions such as 
demonstrated expertise or affiliation 
with other firms) 

Second Stage 

Cash prizes: typically structured as 
hierarchical award (noted above) 

Other: commission, contract or 
negotiating rights structured in 
hierarchical awards (noted above) 

Figure 5.6 Continued 


OF JURY Open Invited/Rf Q 


Vacate an award for a cash prize (no 
prize is given) 

Declare a tie for a cash prize (divide 
the cash equally) 

Vacate or declare tie for the award of a 
commission or contract 

Recommend solutions for exhibition or 

Designate eligible entries for 
unannounced awards (e.g., special 
merit or commendation) 

Designate disqualified entries for 
unannounced recognition (e.g., hors 
de concours award or special 


Select, within limits, the number of 
awards at each tier (e.g., 3 to 5 
winners and 5 to 10 honorable 

Designate eligible entries for 
announced awards (e.g., special 
merit or commendation) 

Designate disqualified entries for un- 
announced recognition (e.g., hors de 
concours award or special recognition) 


Select within limits the number of 
finalists for stage two (e.g., 3 to 5 
finalists or 6 to 10 finalists) 

Vacate awards or declare ties for cash 
prizes, commissions or contracts in 
stage two 

Designate eligible entries in stage one 
for announced awards (e.g., special 
merit or commendation) 

Designate disqualified entries in stage 
one for unannounced recognition 
(e.g., hors de concours award or 
special recognition) 

Key: \^ = Recommended 

Not recommended 



prove to be unsuccessful, however, provisions could be made 
either to allow the sponsor to negotiate with the second place 
winner or have another designer continue work on the selected 
solution. (Section 7.1 and Figure 1.4 also elaborate this issue.) 
Again, if any issues seem complex or unclear, legal help should 
be sought in drafting of the program document. 

Even with carefully conceived and well worded procedures, un- 
authorized use of ideas can become a problem. For example, 
what is to prevent a sponsor insisting that features of other, non- 
winning designs are incorporated into a first place scheme? On 
the other hand, mere similarities between a modification of a 
selected design and some portion of another design may well be 
unintentional. These situations are clearly difficult to document 
and are unlikely to be addressed under standard copyright pro- 

To avoid some of these dilemmas, the sponsor should scrupu- 
lously avoid opportunities for the unauthorized use of non-se- 
lected solutions. Alternatively, the sponsor might establish clear 
and fair procedures for giving equitable compensation and credit 
to non-winning designers whose work is used (in whole or in 
part) in a manner beyond the stated intent of the competition. 

Displaying a large number of solutions to be viewed by the jury re- 
quires considerable preparation. Here, 365 submissions have been 
taped and mounted back-to-back for the New American House Compe- 
tition, Minneapolis College of Art and Design. 


For example, the program may state that the sponsor has the 
right to use non-winning design solutions, or parts thereof, if 
due compensation is made. When the work is less than the 
whole design, the paid amount and credit could be negotiable 
and the program document may contain some financial formula 
(based perhaps on comparable hourly rates) to frame the discus- 
sion between the parties. 

These procedures may appear complex, but they give the spon- 
sor maximum flexibility in pursuing the effective use of the 
competition results, while ensuring that all competitors who 
contribute in any way are fairly compensated. Stressing such 
information in the program document ensures that the margin 
for misunderstanding is lessened, thereby reducing the likeli- 
hood of any long and complex litigation. It also indicates the 
ethical and equitable nature of the competition to prospective 

5.2h Return of Submissions 

In addition to the ownership and use of submissions, the return 
of work may become an irksome problem. The sponsor may 
decide, for a number of reasons, to retain all entries or at least not 
return them. If this is explicitly outlined at the outset, there is 
little chance of any problem arising. Similarly, policies concern- 
ing the retrieval of work by the competitors should be stated 

In larger open competitions, the logistics of wrapping, insuring 
and mailing hundreds of boards is time-consuming, risky and 
expensive. Many programs in these competitions state that no 
work will be returned under any circumstances, that it will be 
held for a brief period (90 days) and then destroyed. In other 
cases, the work may be stored for archival purposes with con- 
trolled and restricted access. In limited or invited competitions, 
however, submissions not selected for any purpose should prob- 
ably be returned to the competitors upon request. In all cases, 
the program should state what will happen to all of the submis- 
sions after the competition and should urge competitors to keep 
a complete record of their submissions. 


The heart of a competition is the design problem, which is first 
summarized in the announcement and later elaborated in the 
competition program. Some problems can be described success- 



Examples of design problem statements may be found in traditional architectural 
facilities programs and similar documents from other disciplines. The following is a 
suggested outline of a problem statement for a typical competition: 

1. Goals 

This should be a general statement of the principal 
goals of the sponsor, limited to a few major issues. 

2. Objectives 

Following the basic goals there should be a longer, 
more specific list of the sponsor's needs. If possible 
the objectives should be ordered according to priority. 

3. Design Features 
and Attributes 

Specific design issues are always included in the 
problem statement. The way in which these are 
classified will govern the way in which the 
competitors address the design problem. If 
successfully presented these will assist and not 
constrain the competitors. Some examples of the more 
traditional ways to classify design issues are: 

a. aesthetic, technical, social and economic issues; 

b. spatial areas, volumes, shapes and similar constraints for 
interiors, building envelopes and site plans; 

c. temporal constraints, such as the features for phase one 
and phase two of a planned project. 


Figure 5.7 Continued 

4. Requirements, 
ations and 

Wherever possible, design problems and the sponsor's 
objectives should be described or classified within 
three categories: 

a. Requirements 

These are design features or attributes which must he 
evident in the design solution. Failure to meet 
requirements means the solution fails to achieve essential 
objectives and the solution must be disqualified. 

b. Recommendations 

These are design features or attributes which are desirable, 
but conceivably may be ignored and still result in a 
superior solution. The absence of these features or 
attributes does not result in disqualification. There should 
be a clear, positive relationship between complying with 
these recommendations and conforming to the evaluative 
criteria given to the jurors (see below). 

c. Options 

These are design features or attributes which may or may 
not be included as part of the submission. They should be 
given serious consideration by the competitors, but the 
inclusion or exclusion of these items carries no implication 
of penalty or reward. 

5. Evaluative The problem statement should contain explicit 

Criteria evaluative criteria which the jurors are obligated to 

apply in their selection process. These criteria must 
relate directly to the objectives as well as the required 
and recommended design features or attributes. When 
possible the evaluative criteria should be ordered 
according to priority. 


fully in a few paragraphs while others may require lengthy re- 
ports. A problem statement for a design concept for a small 
urban landmark may require only a brief statement of objectives 
with less than ten pages of supplementary information. On the 
other hand, a facilities program for a large government building 
complex may require several months of original research and 
interviews and result in a document exceeding one hundred 
pages. In competitions for mixed-use urban developments, there 
may be extensive market surveys, real estate analyses and legal 
investigations needed to prepare a comprehensive statement of 
the problem. Such studies are needed in most large scale design 
projects, and should be anticipated as a necessary component of 
the competition program. 

When the situation allows for, or demands, the simultaneous 
development of a major facilities program as part of the broader 
competition program, then the sponsor ought to seek the advice 
of the professional adviser. Some advisers assist in the prepara- 
tion of a modest facilities program. In other cases the adviser 
works with separate consultants who specialize in programming 
the type of facilities being considered. 

In the most typical situation for major design projects, the client 
will have already prepared, with an outside consultant, a com- 
prehensive facilities program. In these instances, the adviser, 
with the approval of the sponsor, must modify the existing facili- 
ties program so that it is a suitable component of the broader 
competition program. 

5.3a Precision and Clarity 

The precise wording and clarity of the design problem is critical. 
This is especially evident when contrasting a conventional client- 
designer relationship with that of the sponsor-competitor rela- 
tionship. Suppose one part of a larger facilities program requires 
ten equally sized rooms, each serving the same function, and the 
designer wishes to modify the number or size of the rooms, or to 
expand their functions. In a conventional client-designer rela- 
tionship these possibilities can be explored directly through con- 
versations, correspondence and drawings. The precise wording 
of the so-called requirement is not crucial, as the problem statement 
has only to communicate the general significance of the items in 


In a competition, however, once the questions and answers are 
concluded, the designer cannot discuss the program with the 
sponsor. The designer alone decides what action to take and the 
consequences of the action may vary. If the designer changes a 
program requirement, then the consequence should be disquali- 
fication. If the designer ignores a program recommendation then 
the consequence may be less severe — the jury may simply 
dislike that specific decision, but still recognize the merit of other 
aspects of the design. 

It is therefore necessary to communicate all the relevant knowl- 
edge about the problem — not just the basic requirements and 
their general significance (Figure 5.7). The best way to do this is 
to indicate clearly the intended attributes of the design which 
are required, those which are recommended, and those which 
may be considered as options (the musts, shoulds and mayhes of 
the problem). There should be additional subdivisions of infor- 
mation that describe the sponsor's objectives and the evaluative 
criteria to be used by the jury. 

The point is not to hold back information because it may be 
superficially interpreted as impairing creativity — this is simply 
not the case with good designers. Rather, all the information 
must be structured and the priorities clearly presented. In this 
way good designers can understand the problem without the 
benefit of the ongoing dialogue found in conventional client- 
designer relationships. 

5.3b Evaluative Criteria 

All problem statements should include a separate section de- 
scribing the criteria which will be used to evaluate the solutions. 
In competitions, evaluative criteria should be defined as those 
principles or standards which the jury agrees to use in making 
its decisions. These criteria act as a filter through which the jury 
views the presentation of solutions in relation to the competition 
goals (Figure 5.8). Listing the criteria is not just another way to 
present program requirements and recommendations. Criteria 
are more general qualitative standards intended for decision- 
making, which require the use of expert judgment. 

The criteria should be derived directly from the announced ob- 
jectives of the competition. In some cases it may be adequate to 
have one criterion stated as the degree to which the design solutions, 
as interpreted by the jury, achieve the stated objectives of the competi- 


tion. Typically, however, the stated objectives are too abstract 
and, therefore, the criteria should be more concrete. Suppose the 
objectives for a housing design competition include meeting the 
needs of elderly residents. An associated criterion might be written 
as the degree to which the interior design and site plan meet the unique 
needs of elderly residents as defined by the program requirements and 
recommendations. By dividing the initial objective into two com- 
ponents — interior design and site plan — and by referencing 
other program contents, this criterion becomes less abstract than 
the initial objective and provides a clearer direction for competi- 
tors and jurors. 

Criteria, and the objectives from which they derive, may cover a 
variety of aesthetic, social, political, technical or economic issues 
related to the particular design problem. An aesthetic criterion, 
for example, might be stated as the degree to which the facades of the 
building, the building form and the site design are responsive to, and 
visually compatible with surrounding buildings and site conditions. 
This criterion represents a particular aesthetic viewpoint. It may 
suit one problem situation but be inappropriate for another place 
where a building is expected to stand out in marked contrast to 
its context. At other times aesthetic issues may not be included in 
the criteria, either because they are less relevant or because the 
sponsor prefers that such judgments be left, unconditionally, to 

Jurors Thomas Hodne, David Stea and Cynthia Weese discuss the 
evaluative criteria with the adviser, Jeffrey Ollswang and Harvey Sher- 
man, the project director and sponsor's representative. (New American 
House Competition, Minneapolis College of Art and Design.) 


the expertise of the jury. In most cases, highly subjective issues, 
Hke aesthetics, should be included in the evaluative criteria only 
if the sponsor wants the issue emphasized by jurors and com- 

Any formal criteria must be reviewed and approved by the ju- 
rors. The jury should agree, in writing, to regard these criteria as 
their highest priority, but they should also be given full authority 
to apply additional criteria as they see fit; that is their principal 
value as experts. The criteria and the nature of the jurors' agree- 
ment, should be communicated to competitors in the program 
document. In this way, the criteria can be used by good designers 
to guide their work in the desired direction. 

The adviser's task is to narrow the potential range of criteria to 
the major issues which require the jury's judgment — as op- 
posed to issues which should be included as programmatic re- 
quirements. Consider, for example, a competition in which the 
expected construction cost of the building is a critical issue. In an 
invited competition, designers might be required to submit a cost 
estimate in a prescribed format, which could then be reviewed 
for its reliability by an outside consultant hired by the sponsor. In 
this case there would be no need for a separate cost criterion 
applied by the jurors since they need not make any judgments 
about the cost. In an open competition, however, it is impractical 
to require or review the reliability of cost estimates. 

In these situations a separate criterion might be included, such as 
the apparent cost efficiency of the building as interpreted by the jurors. 
This cannot guarantee that the actual cost will be acceptable, but 
it will encourage good designers (and obligate the jurors) to 
consider cost efficiency as an important issue. 

Another way to approach hard-to-measure issues such as cost 
containment is to develop surrogate measures or tests. For exam- 
ple, building size limits might be used as a substitute measure of 
cost limits. The adviser and sponsor must decide if such a mea- 
sure would be reliable. If it is, then a building size limit (along 
with presentation of the appropriate information in the submis- 
sions) could be included as a program requirement or recommen- 
dation which would be verified by the adviser. If it is a require- 
ment then no judgment by the jury is needed. If, instead, it is a 
program recommendation, then an additional criterion might be 
useful, such as the apparent cost-efficiency of the design and the degree 
to which it conforms to the recommended size limitations. 


The adviser checks a submission for two jurors during the New Ameri- 
can House Competition, Minneapolis College of Art and Design. 

Criteria ought to be grouped into priorities. There may be two or 
three primary criteria and several secondary criteria. This gives 
jurors and competitors a sense of the relative importance of the 
issues. This ranking process should not be pushed so far as to 
suggest quantitative weights for each criterion. Two or three 
general levels of priority are sufficient and preferable. More de- 
tailed or quantitative weighting techniques are commonly used 
in government contracts where competing responses to a re- 
quest-for-proposals may be evaluated using point scoring sys- 
tems. This level of precision is inappropriate for criteria used by 
competition jurors, who must combine many qualitative expert 
judgments, only some of which may be evident in the stated 


The written definition of the design problem, the evaluative 
criteria and the presentation guidelines ought to be tested to 
discover if there are any significant flaws. The documents should 
be tested before the final draft of the text to allow enough time to 
make any needed modifications. 





< — o — >o 













Supporting program documents are essential in site-specific competitions and in 
competitions which offer design commissions or contracts. This information often 

1. Site Data and 

In site-specific competitions the designers should be 
given a substantial graphic and technical description 
of the area. This is particularly important when the 
competitors are remote from the competition site and 
are not likely to make a site visit. This information 

a. topographical maps, site sections and aerial photographs 

b. property boundaries and the location of services and 

c. soil conditions 

d. climatological data 

e. drawings and photographs of: 

• the competition site 

• existing building conditions on the site 

• adjacent buildings and the surrounding area. 

2. Regulatory and 
Legal Issues 

Supporting documents should include applicable 
legal and legislative constraints such as: 

a. zoning regulations 

b. building codes (local and national) 

c. property and land ownership 

d. applicable local ordinances regarding historic 
preservation, design review procedures and energy, 
daylighting or air quality regulations. 


Figure 5.9 Continued 

3. Social Issues Sponsors should provide competitors with 

information concerning relevant social conditions, 

a. a description of potential user groups 
h. relevant historical information about the site and 
surrounding area 

c. the characteristics of any population groups adjacent to or 
near the site 

d. the concerns and characteristics of relevant special interest 

e. relevant public opinions concerning the design problem 
and potential use of the solutions. 

4. Economic Issues Of particular interest to competitors are relevant 

economic conditions such as: 

a. a project budget (planned or approved) 

b. the sponsor's financing plans and arrangements 

c. building cost data specific to the design problem 

d. relevant marketing and feasibility studies. 

5. Technical Issues 

The sponsor should also include data concerning 
technical issues, such as: 

a. structural or energy related constraints 

b. appropriate material specifications 

c. relevant construction methods and techniques. 


One way to test a program is to ask designers (possibly members 
of the advisory panel or the jury) to imagine how effective sub- 
missions might be developed. Surrogate competitors should be 
asked to imagine not only good solutions but a range of solutions 
which stretch the limits of the program. This procedure helps 
identify objectives which are too vague, constraints which are 
too confining, criteria which are poorly worded and presentation 
guidelines which may hamper the creativity of good designers. 

The adviser or a member of the sponsor's staff should also test 
the problem (or at least key parts of the problem) as surrogate 
designers. It may be possible to ask college students to act as 
competitors and invest one or two weeks in developing submis- 
sions that respond to the program. Such procedures are elabo- 
rate and time consuming, but are especially valuable with prob- 
lems that have numerous, interrelated constraints. 

In any case the adviser should test all requirements and recom- 
mendations to see if they can be easily interpreted and applied, 
and to estimate how much time will be needed during the jury- 
ing process to check each solution for compliance with the rules. 
The goal is to ensure that all components of the program docu- 
ment facilitate both the development of good solutions and the 
ability of the jurors to understand, evaluate and compare solu- 
tions quickly and efficiently. 


Competitions and conventional design processes require the col- 
lection of a wide variety of information surrounding the design 
problem. In many cases competitors need information about the 
visual character of a place, the cultural character of the people 
who will use the design product or building, climatological data, 
economic analyses or legal constraints. Supporting information 
helps not only the designers, but also the adviser, jurors, mem- 
bers of advisory panels and the sponsor's staff who may not be 
familiar with all the data. Figure 5.9 contains a checklist of con- 
tents for supplementary information. 

Three issues — familiarity, availability, and rcleimrice — have to be 
balanced when selecting and providing supporting materials. 
Information which is already familiar to designers, easily located 
elsewhere or not essential to the understanding of the problem 
may be referenced but not actually included in the supplemen- 


tary materials. The safeguard against omitting important infor- 
mation is the question and answer period during which addi- 
tional relevant materials requested by competitors can be 
collected and distributed. 

Supplementary documents may include written information, 
quantitative data, photographs, drawings and other graphic ma- 
terials. In site-specific competitions, designers are frequently 
given a base map of the site and in some cases obliged to use this 
base drawing to illustrate their solution. This facilitates the com- 
parison of solutions by the jury. 

No competitor should have an advantage over another by virtue 
of restricted access to supporting information. There are un- 
avoidable exceptions, of course, such as competitors who live 
near the competition site and can gain additional knowledge 
about the site more easily than distant competitors. Such excep- 
tions make it all the more important to include comprehensive 
supplementary information for all competitors. 

Supporting information may be provided at designer briefings 
for invited competitions and to finalists in two-stage competi- 
tions. In these situations the adviser and sponsor may distribute 
new information before, during or after collective meetings with 
competitors. If, for example, the competitors are going to tour a 
competition site, then they should all be given a comprehensive 
list of issues to be examined as they view the site and its sur- 
rounds. Moreover, as noted in Chapter Four, when face-to-face 
dialogue occurs between the competitors and the adviser, spon- 
sor or jurors, then all parties should be given a transcript of the 


During the initial round of decision-making jurors may work individ- 
ually recording their observations to be used in subsequent discus- 
sions. (New American House Competition, Minneapolis College of 
Art and Design.) 




The jurying process is a period of intense deliberation which 
must be completed in a limited amount of time, normally several 
days. The months of waiting come to an end and winners are 
selected. The event has the drama of an athletic tournament or 
courtroom trial. 

The jurying process is a combination of several activities. The 
submissions must be unwrapped, examined and displayed. The 
jury deliberations may include a variety of working meetings as 
well as social ceremonies. During their deliberations, the jurors 
may request that solutions be moved, discarded or called back 
for reconsideration. After the winners are selected, there should 
be a public announcement and a press conference which in- 
cludes the jury's comments. The solutions should be photo- 
graphed and labeled for public display. 

Facilities for jurying should be reserved at the time the competi- 
tion is announced and the awards ceremonies should be planned 
several weeks before the jurying begins. The sponsor and adviser 
must be prepared to announce the winners, assess the results 
and make a smooth transition into post-competition activities. 


The general sequence of the events is outlined in Figure 6.1. The 
deliberations normally begin in closed meetings between the 
adviser and the jurors. The issues discussed at this time include 
the evaluative criteria, selection procedures, competition rules 
and the responsibilities and authority of the jurors, adviser and 



Prior to the jury deliberations, the sponsor and 
professional adviser may: 

Prior Discussions 


a. conduct an initial meeting with the jury chairperson 

b. hold confidential meetings with individual jurors 

c. convene a formal group meeting including all parties 
involved in the jurying process. 

These meetings provide the opportunity to review: 

a. the goals of the competition and evaluate criteria 

b. any potential problems with the process 

c. the schedule for the deliberations. 

Initiating the For the purposes of facilitating an efficient and 

Deliberations successful jurying process, early discussions should 

review and clarify: 

a. The responsibility and authority of the jurors, the jury 
chairperson (if any), the sponsor and the adviser 

b. the objectives, evaluative criteria, presentation rules, 
program constraints, questions and answers (all 
documents and relevant materials should be readily 

c. procedural matters such as 

• selection of a jury chairperson 

• voting procedures 

• disqualification of entries 

d. additional procedures, if any, whereby jurors may be 
interviewed by the press such as: 

• allowing interviews only during a jury recess 

• prohibiting the press from being present during the 
deliberations or in the jury area 

• directing all initial inquiries from the press to the 
adviser or other staff members 

e. new circumstances which have developed during the 
course of the competition but which were unknown to 
competitors and should therefore not be considered 
by jurors as significant factors in evaluating the 


Jurors often discuss additional criteria and design viewpoints 
not noted in the program. The adviser should remind jurors that 
any recent changes in the problem situation which were un- 
known to the competitors must not influence their decision, and 
that jurors may not disregard any of the programmatic require- 
ments or evaluative criteria which have been given to the com- 
petitors. During these initial discussions it is also advisable to 
review the answers to the competitors' questions, emphasizing 
any issues which have officially altered the original program. 

Sometimes the adviser or sponsor meet with each juror privately 
before the whole jury is assembled. Where one dominant per- 
sonality is expected to lead the jury, a meeting between this 
leader, the adviser and the sponsor is the appropriate starting 
point. Regardless of whether there is one jury leader, all jurors 
should have an opportunity to express their concerns to the 
adviser or sponsor in a confidential, candid manner. 

The beginning of the jurying process should be treated as a 
ceremonial occasion. On the evening before the formal delibera- 
tions, there may be a private dinner for the jurors and principal 
staff. This occasion helps establish friendly relationships, and is 
an appropriate time for sponsors to emphasize their commitment 
to the competition and its results. 


The physical facilities for the jury are an important issue (Figure 
6.2). A particular problem, especially in the case of large compe- 
titions, is locating a space which is big enough to handle all the 
submissions, well lighted, comfortable and secure. These spatial 
requirements are substantial, which is why juries sometimes 
convene in airplane hangars, armories, large warehouses, vacant 
exhibition spaces, or schools and colleges. 

Unpacking, mounting and rearranging submissions, storing 
them and keeping them secure for several days is a common 
logistical problem. In a large open competition, the adviser may 
have to examine, exhibit and repeatedly rearrange over one 
thousand boards. In this type of competition, the sponsor ought 
to provide a crew of people (often the sponsor's staff members or 
local college students) who will assist the adviser during the 
entire jurying process. 



The spiatial requirements for a jurying process may be enormous, depending upon the 
number, type and size of the submissions. 

1. Display Room 

2. Display 

The number and size of the submissions should be 
estimated as soon as possible in order to: 

a. estimate the amount of space required (the space may be a 
large meeting hall, gymnasium, hangar, gallery or 
similarly large space) 

b. ensure the availability of the necessary space (this may 
require advance reservation, rental or fees) 

c. evaluate and select the most efficient method in which to 
arrange the submissions (this may involve renting tables 
or other equipment) 

d. provide sufficient, secure storage for the submissions. 

When displaying the submissions the following 
issues should be considered: 

lighting (of the jurying space and the submissions — day 
and night) 

flexibility (allowing for continual rearrangement of the 
submissions during the elimination process) 
circulation (space between the rows of submissions) 
viewing distances (to facilitate individual and group 
viewing of the submissions). 

3. Conference In addition to the display area, there should be an 

Room adjoining room or a separate space designated solely 

as a conference room for: 

a. confidential jury deliberations, discussions and voting 

b. informal conversation and relaxation. 


Figure 6.2 Continued 

4. Security 

The sponsor must provide security for the 

a. when they are received 

b. after the entries are unwrapped, but before the jurying 

c. during the jurying, when the submissions are being 
removed or rearranged 

d. after the jurying 

e. after the announcement and press conferences are 

5. Storage 

Submissions may require a substantial amount of 
storage space: 

a. prior to the jury deliberations (especially if this is the 
space where the adviser unwraps and examines the 

b. after the jury deliberations (to allow for the separation 
and cataloguing of solutions). 

6. Additional 

In addition to the above arrangements, there should 
be provisions for: 

a. food and beverage service during deliberations 

b. comfortable, flexible seating and other furnishings to 
facilitate review of submissions, discussion, writing and 

c. telephone access. 


The jury area must be private and secured from intrusion by the 
general pubHc and press, especially during critical deliberations 
and voting. This encourages free and open debate among the 
jurors. Occasionally local laws require open, public meetings for 



^^^H^ 4r ^^1 

r M 

^^^ / J^ 




The adviser and the project director discuss the preparations for dis- 
playing the drawings for the jury in New American House Competi- 
tion, Minneapolis College of Art and Design. 


government sponsored competitions. Such regulations should 
be checked and the jurors informed of these requirements be- 

A typical jury day may involve twelve to sixteen hours of intense 
discussion and debate. Under these conditions, failure to pro- 
vide for the physical and psychological comfort of the jury can 
reduce the jury's effectiveness. A separate room, adjoining the 
jury space, should be available for informal conferences, meet- 
ings and relaxation. Comfortable seating should be provided as 
well as food and beverages. Jurors will also need access to tele- 
phones for business and travel arrangements. Hotel accommo- 
dations should be convenient and conducive to additional infor- 
mal discussions between the jurors and the adviser. 


All solutions must be initially checked by the adviser and an 
identifying number placed on each submission. If the submissions 
consist of more than one board, a number should be placed on 
each board. Following this, the submissions are usually mounted 
and displayed in an exhibition format. The jury then moves from 
entry to entry. This method facilitates comparative analysis and 
allows jurors to work individually, in pairs or collectively as a 
group. In larger competitions, forms or tabulation sheets are 
sometimes prepared for jurors to use when recording their re- 
sponse to each numbered entry. 

After the first or second round of evaluation, the jury usually 
wants to rearrange the solutions, by removing those they have 
initially rejected, and regrouping the remaining solutions. Juries 
may want solutions rearranged into categories or left loose for 
the jurors to peruse and shift as they choose. 

Eliminated submissions must be carefully removed and stored 
securely. It is especially important to keep track of solutions 
which have been momentarily eliminated. A jury may wish to 
recall a solution for reconsideration, or select it later for the 
purpose of publication or exhibition. 


One juror is generally selected to serve as chairperson for the 
deliberations. This should be arranged previous to the jurying 
process with the agreement of the individual jurors. Alternative- 


ly, the jurors may decide at their first meeting to select one of 
their members as the chairperson. 

The role of the jury chairperson must be defined precisely. There 
is a major difference between a chair who is an opinion leader 
and one whose sole responsibility is maintaining an ethical and 
efficient decision-making process. The latter role is more com- 
mon (refer to Section 2.5c in Chapter Two). Normally, the chair- 
person is someone with previous experience in design competi- 
tions, who fosters congenial but disciplined procedures required 
for successful juries. 


The adviser must carefully review all submissions to ensure that 
they conform to the published requirements and are eligible for 
an award (Figure 6.3). This should occur before the jurors begin 
their deliberations. In large open competitions, however, deter- 
mining every submission's conformance to all program require- 
ments may be too time-consuming to complete before the jury 
begins. There are also cases in which violations of program re- 

During an informal break, jurors peruse the entries individually for 
the New American House Competition, Minneapolis College of Art 
and Design. 


quirements are inadvertently overlooked during the initial ex- 
amination. Consequently, the adviser must have the authority to 
disqualify solutions at any time during the deliberations. In fact, 
it is usually wise for the adviser to conduct a final technical 
review to assure conformance to requirements just prior to the 
jury's final designation of awards. Such procedures can be con- 
troversial, but they are nevertheless essential. 

The adviser should present all ineligible submissions to the jury 
and the reasons for their disqualifications. Jurors may review 
these submissions to satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of the 
adviser's decision, but they cannot overrule the decision. Un- 
like courts of law and organized competitive sports, there is no 
routine process for appealing the adviser's judgment regarding 
ineligibility or disqualification. 

Disqualified submissions must not be juried for an official award, 
regardless of their merits or the protestations of jurors. The 
adviser is acting on behalf of all those competitors who met the 
requirements and would, in effect, be cheated if their chances of 
an award were unfairly decreased by allowing a non-conform- 
ing design to be considered. 


The jury chairperson, Michael Brill, leads a discussion with the other 
jurors during the New American House Competition, Minneapolis 
College of Art and Design. 



1. Authority 

Prior to the jury deliberations, the disqualification 
procedures should be carefully reviewed by the 
sponsor, jury and adviser. Emphasis should be given 

a. the responsibility and authority of the adviser 

b. the rules regarding disqualifications 

c. the legal and ethical implications 

d. the type and severity of the consequences. 

2. Disqualification 
Prior to Jury 

Every attempt should be made to discover 
disqualified submissions prior to the beginning of the 
jury deliberations. Such disqualifications are usually 
the result of: 

3. Disqualification 
During the Jury 

a. non-compliance with programmatic or presentation 

b. failure to meet stated deadlines such as post-marked times 
for receipt or mailing of submissions 

c. eligibility, anonymity or registration violations. 

In some instances, reasons for disqualification are 
discovered during the jurying deliberations. When 
this occurs: 


the reasons for disqualification should be recorded 

the record must contain the person who discovered the 


the submission should be "tagged" by the adviser (e.g. a 

visual marker placed on the entry) 

it must be removed from those submissions eligible for an 


4. Disqualification 
Prior to 

Just prior to the jury's final decisions the adviser 
should recheck tentative winners for compliance with 
rules and requirements. In large competitions with 
hundreds of entries, the adviser may have postponed 
checking some items until the jury has narrowed the 
field of potential winners. The adviser is most likely 
to do this when checking requirements is particularly 
time-consuming, as is the case with: 

a. spatial or volumetric limitations 

b. specific legal or zoning regulations 

c. detailed cost-estimates 

d. construction requirements. 


Figure 6.3 Continued 

5. Post- Award 

6. Jury 

and Authority 

7. Legal Counsel 

In rare instances when a winning solution must be 
disqualified for non-compliance after announcing the 
awards, the sponsor should have planned 
contingencies for: 

a. contacting or re-empanelling the competition jury for 
their assistance 

b. shifting the prize winners (e.g., moving third place to 
second place if second place was disqualified) 

c. vacating the prize entirely and reallocating the awards 

d. informing all competitors of the disqualification and the 

The jury's responsibility concerning disqualification 
is usually limited to: 

a. reviewing the adviser's decisions for accuracy (e.g., 
reviewing the precision of any measurements) 

b. reviewing the precision and clarity of rules and 
requirements and noting significant ambiguities. 

Under no circumstances, however, may the jury: 

a. change or alter the stated rules and requirements 

b. re-introduce a submission as eligible for an award after it 
has been legitimately disqualified. 

In some cases the jury is given the authority to 
recognize the merits of a disqualified or ineligible 
submission by: 

a. designating the solution for an unannounced "special 
merit" award (or similar title) 

b. selecting a solution only for the purposes of exhibition or 

In some cases legal counsel should be obtained to: 

a. review the disqualification rules, and their consequences 
prior to publication of the competition program 

b. review the competitors' questions and proposed answers 
regarding disqualification procedures 

c. assist in any deliberations concerning post-award 


One of the more disconcerting situations arises when a competi- 
tor breaks the rule of anonymity by inadvertently including ini- 
tials or other identifying marks on a submission. In some compe- 
titions, if such markings are discovered prior to the jury, the 
adviser may have the authority to remove or conceal the identify- 
ing marks. If, on the other hand, indications of authorship are 
discovered during the jurying process, the submission should be 

In rare situations when the adviser considers an infraction to be 
insignificant and to have provided no substantial advantage, the 
penalty of non-compliance may be less severe than total disquali- 

The adviser, Jeffrey Ollswang, responds to a question raised by jury 
chairperson, Michael Brill, during the second round of eliminations 
for the New American House Competition, Minneapolis College of 
Art and Design. 


fication. The final authority for making this judgment must clear- 
ly rest with the adviser, and not the jury. Under these circum- 
stances the jury may be allowed to recognize the merits of a 
disqualified submission in a variety of ways. These may include 
an improvised award, certificate of merit or other form of recog- 
nition (but not an official prize.) When this occurs, the caption or 
designation ineligible for award should be included. Such discre- 
tionary authority should be allowed only if it has been stated in 
the program documents. 

In some instances, the jury also has the authority to vacate an 
award or declare ties among solutions. The jury often has the 
right to recognize any solution regardless of violations of re- 
quirements, by mentioning it in the jury report or by recom- 
mending it for publication or exhibition. Collectively, these dis- 
cretionary powers are sufficient to handle most unpredictable 
circumstances. It must be emphasized, however, that there are 
no justifiable reasons to give official awards or prizes to ineligible 


Jurors should be asked to agree to some method of selection at 
the start of deliberations. Prior consensus regarding the method 
of selection is an important technique for making the procedures 
more efficient. 

The adviser may suggest several kinds of voting procedures for 
the jury's consideration (Figure 6.4). However, it is normally the 
responsibility of the jury chairperson to propose the voting pro- 
cedures. Given the intense nature of the jurying process it may 
be wise to discuss these procedures before the formal delibera- 
tions. Majority rule is frequently considered only as a last resort. 
In this case, an odd-numbered jury is preferable, so that a deci- 
sion by majority vote is clearly possible. 


Some method of recording the deliberations should be planned 
prior to the jurying. Photographic, video and sound recordings 
or stenographic transcripts of the process are especially helpful 
for archival and post-competition purposes. Recording the ju- 
rors' comments about the range of solutions and the rationale for 
their choices is useful for press releases, public announcements, 
exhibits and publications. 



The following procedures apply primarily to large, open and anonymous competitions. 

1. General Voting procedures should be established by the jury 

but, in any case, the adviser should ensure that: 

a. a careful record is made of all voting 
h. all jurors see all the submissions at least once 
c. jury comments about the solutions are recorded 
throughout the jurying process. 

2. First Round Generally the first round of voting eliminates clearly 

weak or unsuccessful solutions. Typically, during this 
first "cut": 

a. voting is anonymous 

b. votes are positive (i.e., jurors vote for "retaining a 
submission for discussion" rather than rejecting it) 

c. jurors are not be obligated to present their reasons for 
their votes. 

Following this vote any submission is usually 
eliminated if: 

a. it has no positive votes 

b. it has insufficient positive votes (e.g., a submission that 
has only 1 out of 5 positive votes). 

To avoid eliminating truly superior solutions, each 
juror should have the privilege of selecting one, or a 
few favorites for the next round of discussion. This 
helps avoid early controversy, and protects 
competitors from being eliminated capriciously. 

3. Alternate First In some cases, the following is an appropriate 
Round Procedure alternative procedure for the first round: 

a. the jurors briefly view all the solutions 

b. the jurors discuss the evaluative criteria and agree upon 
the basis for retaining or eliminating solutions during the 
first round review 

c. the solutions are divided so that individual jurors or 
teams are given roughly equal numbers of submissions to 
review (e.g., each of five jurors reinews one fifth of the 
entries: two teams each reinew half the entries) 

d. individuals or teams reiuezv their assigned entries and 
make initial recommendations to the entire jury 

e. the jury reviews and approves these recommendations 
collectively, but each juror retains the right to advance 
automatically a few famrites to the next round. 


Figure 6.4 Continued 

4. Intermediate During intermediate rounds all rejected submissions 
Round should be removed and the remaining submissions 
Procedures should be consolidated. Options for voting 

procedures are: 

a. continue first round voting procedures by casting ballots 
for retaining submissions for discussions (i.e., retain any 
solution receiving a given number of votes; e.g., 2 out of 5 
or 4 out of 7) 

b. allow each juror to select a few favorite solutions for 
further consideration 

c. have the entire jury briefly discuss each submission and 
seek a consensus about retaining or rejecting that 

d. give jurors, at the end of each intermediate round, the 
opportunity to reconsider rejected solutions. 

5. Intermediate Intermediate round deliberations may produce a 
Round range of preliminary decisions such as: 

a. a solution is rejected, but recommended for exhibition and 

b. a solution is tentatively rejected but may be reconsidered 

c. a solution is retained to be checked by the adviser for 
compliance with requirements 

d. a solution is retained, forwarded as a potential honorable 
mention (or special award) but not as a candidate for a 
major award 

e. a solution is retained and forwarded to the final round as 
a candidate for a major award. 

6. Final Round Final voting and selection procedures should be 
Designations established and approved by the jury beforehand. In 

many cases there will be a consensus regarding: 

a. those solutions which deserve awards of merit or honorable 
mention (but not a major award) 

b. those solutions which should receive a major award. 

When no consensus can be reached, formal ballots 
may be used to rank finalists for major awards. 

When the jury is deadlocked, it may be necessary to 
modify the prizes (e.g., declare a tie for second place). 
Alternatively, the jury chairperson may have the 
authority to break tie votes or devise other procedures 
to end a deadlock. 



1. Initial Contact 

Previous to any public announcement of the 
competition results, the sponsor, adviser or the jury 
chairperson should notify the winners by telephone. 

2. Information from During the initial telephone conversation the 
the Winners following information should be obtained for 

subsequent public announcements and press releases: 

a. the full names, addresses and telephone numbers of all 
winning competitors (this is particularly important in the 
case of team submissions) 

b. biographical data including education, professional 
affiliations, experience and current status 

c. personal responses to the competitioji and the results. 

3. Information for 
the Winners 

The sponsor or the adviser should be prepared to give 
the winners information such as: 


instructions for responding to press inquiries 

the time and date of the public announcement and any 

restrictions regarding prior disclosure of the azvards by the 


details of the award and other post-competition activities 

(e.g., contract negotiations) 

the name and telephone number of the sponsor or 

representative who the winners may contact for further 


arrangements, if appropriate, for inviting the winning 

competitors to public announceinerits , ceremonies or press 


4. Formal The winners should be informed that they will 

Notification receive formal notification of the jury's selection by 

letter or telegram. The adviser should be prepared to 
send this notification immediately after the sponsor 
has been informed of the results. 


Reliable records will assist in the preparation of the final jury 
report and other narratives in which it is important to match a 
juror's comments to a specific solution. Cogent, concise com- 
ments made during animated discussions are difficult to recon- 
struct without the use of recording devices. 


When the jury reaches its final decision, there is a sense of 
excitement. This moment is only the beginning of the next phase of 
post-competition activities. In the emotional excitement, there is 
often a tendency to overlook some important tasks which need 
to be addressed immediately. Figure 6.5 lists the range of activi- 
ties that occur, or begin, just after the names of the winners are 

The first task is to notify all the winners, including those with 
honorable mentions and awards of merit. In anonymous compe- 
titions, the information needed to contact winners is contained 
in the sealed envelopes attached to each submission, or on the 
registration forms which may have been held by the adviser, 
separately. There may be several designers to be notified for each 
solution. Initial telephone calls must be followed by formal let- 
ters or telegrams sent to each of the winning designers. 

An initial conversation with each winner fulfills several func- 
tions. It gives the winners an opportunity to enjoy the elation 
and collect their thoughts while giving the adviser and sponsor 
an opportunity to prepare for upcoming events and inquiries. 
The first place winner will probably be contacted and inter- 
viewed by the press. A winner's response to such inquiries may 
have a significant impact on the post-competition activities, es- 
pecially when further development or implementation of the 
winning design solution is a matter of public interest. 

Notifying the winners also gives the adviser and other staff the 
opportunity to collect information for press releases, confer- 
ences, the awards ceremony, and other events that follow the 
jury's decision. This information includes biographical descrip- 
tions and professional activities of the winners, their reactions to 
the competition and commentary on their design solutions. 

There is considerable pressure to complete these pleasant but 
necessary tasks immediately. Depending upon the number and 



1. Prior Preparation 

Plans should be made before the jurying process as to 
how the general public and press will be informed of 
the competition results. 

2. Press Release The sponsor and the adviser should prepare press 

releases for public announcements and the awards 
ceremonies. The press releases should contain: 

a. information about the winning solutions and their 

b. the reactions of the sponsor and any immediate or long- 
term plans for using the results (e.g., exhibits, a fund- 
raising campaign, contract negotiations or construction) 

c. jury comments (general and specific) 

d. reactions and comments of the winning designers 

e. abstracts of the competition prograyn and relevant 

f. additional photographs and graphic materials relevant to 
the competition. 

3. Accuracy 

Special care must be given to accuracy, especially in 
regard to: 

a. the attribution of the authorship of all winning or publicly 
exhibited solutions 

b. jurors' general comments about the competition and 
specific comments about individual solutions 

c. interviews by reporters with jurors and competitors 

d. publication or broadcast of photographs of the winning 


location of winners, collecting most of this information will re- 
quire one or two days. It is unlikely that all the needed informa- 
tion will be gathered in just one conversation. 


Most competitions, especially large national competitions, 
should have an awards ceremony accompanied by a press con- 
ference and temporary display of the winning entries (Figure 
6.6). If at all possible, this event should occur within one or two 
days of the jury's decision. The precise timing depends on sever- 
al factors. In some competitions the sponsor would like the first 
place or other winning designers present at the ceremony; pro- 
viding a more interesting story for journalists and the media. If 
the awards ceremony is delayed too long, it becomes a less timely 
or interesting event and therefore less newsworthy. 

The timing of the awards ceremony also depends on whether the 
jury chairperson or other jury members can be present to explain 
first-hand their decision-making process and the rationale for 
their selections. Another factor governing the awards ceremony 
is the staff effort required to produce press releases and organize 
the display of winning solutions — one or two days is short 
notice for this type of activity unless there has been prior prep- 

Another issue that may influence the awards ceremony is the 
sponsor's reaction to the results. Typically, sponsors view the 
results enthusiastically and wish to maximize public awareness 
of the awards. In some cases, however, sponsors unfairly delay 
the awards ceremony because they become overly cautious or 
react adversely to some aspect of the winning design or perhaps, 
to the designer. These may be legitimate concerns, but they are 
not valid reasons to delay or minimize the publicity surrounding 
the awards. Publicity, by itself, is one of the principal rewards, 
especially for competitors who intend to use the results to pro- 
mote their professional ambitions. Consequently, the timing of 
the awards ceremony should be planned to meet both the spon- 
sor's and the winners' needs. 

The awards ceremony frequently serves as a press conference. 
Questions and interviews usually occur directly following the 
remarks by the sponsor, adviser, jurors and winners. If, however. 



1. Procedure 

The sponsor should be informed of the jury's 
recommendations immediately after the jury's final 
designations. This is normally the responsibility of 
the adviser. This initial briefing session should: 

a. occur prior to any public announcement of the 
competition results 

b. include only the sponsor, adviser and, if possible, the jury 
chairperson or a designated representative of the jury. 

2. Contents 

The adviser or jury representative should present to 
the sponsor: 

a. a thorough review of all winning solutions 

b. the rationale for the jury's selections and appropriate 

c. any potential difficulties that might occur in using the 
winning solutionis) as intended. 

During this briefing session the sponsor and adviser 
should also review: 

a. the schedule of post-competition activities 

b. preparations for an awards ceremony or press conference. 

3. Additional 

The sponsor may wish to seek additional advice 
regarding the competition results, prior to any public 
announcements. This may include a review of the 
winning solutions by: 

a. advisory panel members 

b. public officials 

c. cost estimators 

d. engineers 

e. local design professionals 


the awards ceremony is delayed or if there is no awards ceremo- 
ny, then a separate press conference should be held as soon as 
possible following the jury. 

Inquiries from journalists may begin during the jurying process. 
The adviser and sponsor should prepare as much press material 
as is possible just prior to the jury deliberations. The final press 
release should include an abbreviated program, the names and 
backgrounds of the winners, jurors and sponsor. The press re- 
lease is an opportunity for the sponsor to announce the next 
steps in the project. Frequently this is the most newsworthy 
item. The winning solutions must be labeled carefully. Embar- 
rassing errors often occur due to incomplete or incorrect attribu- 
tions of the work. Occasionally, background information about 
other competitions and related projects is included in press re- 

In some cases, a non-winning solution may attract more atten- 
tion from the press due not to its design merits, but because it 
appears photogenic or provides a more interesting story. It is the 
winners who deserve the spotlight and it is most unfair if they 
receive less recognition while other designers (whose work was 
not judged superior) receive greater acclaim because it makes a 
better picture or a better story. While the press probably should 
be granted access to non-winning solutions, it is advisable to 
delay the release of information about such solutions until the 
initial excitement has ended (several weeks to a few months). 
This protects both the sponsor and the winning designers. 


The sponsor has to make several decisions as to how to announce 
and use the competition results as soon as the jury is concluded. 
In most cases, there should be one or two planned briefings 
between the adviser and sponsor immediately following the ju- 
ry's decision (Figure 6.7). This can minimize the lead time re- 
quired for the awards ceremony and still fulfill the sponsor's 
needs to review the results. 

Sponsors may require assistance from the adviser or others in 
understanding the merits and implications of the winning solu- 
tion(s) and its designer(s). This is especially true for competi- 
tions which will result in the awarding of a design commission or 
contract for design-build or design-develop projects. Even in 



1. Prior Preparation 

2. First Draft 

Plans for the jury report and other post-competition 
publications should be prepared before the jurying. 

The initial draft of the jury report may be authored 
completely, or in part by: 

a. the jury chairperson (or designated juror) 

b. the adviser 

c. the sponsor's staff 

3. Review and The content of the report and commentary should be 

Approval reviewed and approved by all of the following: 

a. the jury 

b. the adviser 

c. the sponsor 

4. Narrative 

A comprehensive jury report should include: 


a summary of the competition goals, objectives and, in 

particular, the design challenge 

a full description of all the competition winners and 

comments from all the jurors 

the process and rationale used in selecting winners 

jury comments regarding the overall competition. 

5. Graphic Content For post-competition publications, the sponsor should: 

6. Supplemental 

a. provide a comprehensive photographic record of all 
winning solutions 

b. provide additional photographs of solutions recommended 
by the jury for exhibition and publication 

c. reproduce relevant portions of the program 

d. record any models which were used by the winners. 

It is also useful to keep a record of post-competition 
reports and publicity which may be incorporated into 
catalogues or other documents. This includes: 

a. newspaper and magazine articles about the competition 

b. commentaries by public officials, design professionals, 
competitors and special interest groups 

c. reports concerning the competition results prepared by the 
sponsor's staff, government agencies, consultants or other 
outside observers. 


competitions for promotional or educational ideas, the sponsor 
needs time to analyze the results. 

Sponsor briefings can be as intense as the jury proceedings. They 
should be used to discuss all relevant solutions, answer the 
sponsor's questions and consider any new opportunities or po- 
tential problems. It may be useful to include members of the jury, 
advisory panel or other professionals at these meetings. These 
briefings can be expedited if the sponsor (or sponsor's represen- 
tative) was present during the jurying process and already has 
some familiarity with the competition results. 


Traditionally the jury report describes the quality and merit of 
the submissions as well as the rationale for the final selections. 
Jury reports ought to include a summary of the design problem, 
the competition process, insights from jurors, the sponsor's ob- 
jectives and photographs of the winning solutions. The report 
might also discuss how the competition results relate to design 
issues in the community or in the profession. Proper recording 
and editing of the comments of nationally recognized jurors 
increases the educational and historical value of the report. Fig- 
ure 6.8 outlines the contents of most jury reports. 

The scope and emphasis of the jury report should relate directly 
to the sponsor's post-competition objectives and it should look 
forward to the next steps in the application of the results. In a 
competition for commissions or a design-develop competition, 
the report might emphasize the feasibility of the first place solu- 
tion or the circumstances under which several winning solutions 
might be feasible. In a competition to promote ideas, the report 
might emphasize how the winning designs represent a diversity 
of concepts or different versions of the same concept. 

It is the obligation of the sponsor, the adviser (and perhaps the 
chair of the jury) to compile and edit the report. If the jurors are 
expected to assist in preparing the report, such obligations 
should be included in their contract. In most cases, the jury will 
disperse before the report is completed. Consequently, it may be 
useful to prepare an outline or partial draft of the report and 
request jurors to review it before they leave. The publication of 
the report will occur later, but the significant content of the 
report will have been decided prior to the jury's departure. 


Usually the report is sent to all designers who entered the com- 
petition, advisory panel members, jurors, staff persons, press 
representatives, community leaders and local design profession- 

The jury views the solutions as a group — their comments and deci- 
sions are recorded by the adviser and the competition staff in the New 
American House Competition, Minneapolis College of Art and De- 







For most professional designers the phrase implementation of a 
competition means the construction of the winning solution. In 
practice, however, competition results can be used in many le- 
gitimate ways which are intrinsically no less valuable than the 
traditional design commission. 

Implementing a competition means that the results are being 
used for their intended purpose. Applications may range from 
scholarly investigations concerning design to the disposition of 
land for property development. Successful implementation of 
the results requires commitment, resources and expertise. Plan- 
ning for implementation is as critical as the initial planning for 
the competition. 

This chapter considers five principal types of competition out- 
comes and their associated post-competition activities. The first 
outcome discussed is the traditional post-competition activity of 
awarding a design commission. This is followed by another in- 
creasingly popular outcome — education and the promotion of ideas. 
The third section focuses on using competition results to develop 
resources — economic, political or technical resources which can 
then help in the actual construction of a project. The fourth type 
of post-competition application is one step further than a design 
commission — it is a contract for construction resulting from a 
design-develop or design- build competition. The fifth and final 
type is the use of competition results to develop an archive of 


These five types of outcomes are not mutually exclusive. A com- 
petition to generate ideas combines easily with one for the devel- 
opment of resources or the creation of an archive. A design-build 
competition normally offers design commissions. Consequently, 
post-competition plans often involve combinations of these ac- 
tivities tailored to the unique needs of the sponsor. 


The traditional result of design competitions is a design commis- 
sion for the winning entrant, with the expectation that this will 
be followed by construction of the winning solution. In practice 
there are several ways to link competition results to commissions 
and subsequent construction. At one extreme, the competition 
documents may guarantee no more than a formal meeting be- 
tween the winning designer and the sponsor to discuss options 
for future work. At the other extreme the competition docu- 
ments may assure a commission for both preliminary design and 
the subsequent design development phase, which parallels stan- 
dard architectural practice. Figure 7.1 includes a list of issues 
related to the award of design commissions. 

At the podium, the project director introduces sponsors, jurors and the 
adviser at the public announcement of the winning solutions for the 
New American House Competition, Minneapolis College of Art and 



When awarding design commissions the following issues should be considered: 

1. Professional The sponsor should seek assistance from experts who 

Assistance can facilitate implementating the results, such as: 

a. legal counsel 

b. advisory panel members 

c. financial experts 

d. public officials and agency representatives 

e. construction contractors and cost-estimators 

f. additional design professionals. 

2. Sponsor/Winner 

The adviser should be present during post- 
competition negotiations and ensure that negotiation 
procedures, as described in the program, are followed 
by both the sponsor and the designer(s). 

3. Failed The competition program should describe the 
Negotiations consequences of failed negotiations between the 

sponsor and the selected designer(s). For example: 

a. the sponsor may have the right to use the ideas from, or to 
negotiate with the designers of other solutions 

b. the designers may be entitled to additional compensation 

c. the sponsor may have the right to publish or reproduce the 
winning submissions, but not the right to use the design 
ideas for construction of a building. 

4. Required The program may require winning designers to 
Affiliations affiliate with other design firms, such as: 

5. Contract Format 

a. firms on a predetermined list approved by the sponsor 

b. firms mutually acceptable to both the sponsor and the 
winning designers 

c. firms which satisfy specified criteria (e.g., firms with local 
registration, firms approved for government contracts or 
firms with specific design/construction capabilities). 

Sponsors may use standard contract forms provided 
by professional organizations (e.g., the American 
Institute of Architects). It may be necessary to modify 
such forms to allow for: 

a. affiliations between winners and other design firms 

b. contingencies based upon cost estimates of winning 

c. delays due to financial or political contingencies 

d. atypical design services (e.g., publication preparation, 
fund raising and promotional activities). 


When awarding a contract for design services, the sponsor 
should seek legal advice, even in the simplest cases in which the 
standard professional contracts are to be used. Other technical 
expertise may be needed to analyze the winning solution and 
forecast problems regarding construction, financing and func- 
tional attributes. This advice too, should be obtained prior to 
awarding the commission. The sponsor, with the adviser, should 
plan for whatever technical assistance will be required, from the 
outset of the competition. 

Several professional design societies such as the American Insti- 
tute of Architects, the International Union of Architects and the 
Royal Institute of British Architects have guidelines describing 
what constitutes an appropriate agreement between the sponsor 
and the winner. When the principal competition outcome is a 
design commission or contract, the recommendations of these 
professional design groups are particularly valuable. 

7.1a Negotiations 

The first step in awarding a design commission is almost always 
a personal meeting between the sponsor and the designer. Ar- 
rangements for such a meeting should be made when the winner 
is notified. The adviser should be present at this meeting, espe- 
cially if post-competition negotiation procedures are noted in 
the program documents. Other parties who may be involved in 
these meetings include technical experts whose opinions are 
desired by either the sponsor or the winning designer. 

The intended outcome of the negotiations must be clarified be- 
forehand and presented in the program. When the program 
documents guarantee a design commission, it should be stated 
that once the commission is completed, the sponsor is not obli- 
gated to any further service from the competition winner. The 
program, however, should never guarantee an offer of a design 
commission unless the sponsor has the necessary financial re- 
sources and legal authority. 

Negotiations in a sponsor-winner relationship are different from 
those in a typical client-designer relationship. In a competition, 
when negotiations begin both the sponsor and the designer are 
familiar with the solution and both know that it has been 
deemed a superior design. The shared awareness of an assured, 
high quality solution may influence the negotiating position of 


both the sponsor and winner. In contrast, when conventional 
cHent-designer negotiations begin, neither party has a specific 
image of the final solution. Even when client-designer negotia- 
tions occur after a preliminary design has been completed, that 
design has still not been evaluated by jurors as a superior solu- 

Sponsor-winner negotiations do include, however, some of the 
issues found in typical client-designer discussions, such as po- 
tential design changes, subsequent construction costs and tech- 
nical constraints. Sponsors may ask the adviser, jurors or others 
about changing portions of the design which appear ill-suited to 
the sponsor's needs. 

Some negotiations are structured so that if no agreement is 
reached, the winner still retains the prize money. When this 
occurs, the sponsor may then have the right to open negotiations 
with the next highest ranked solution (refer to Figure 1.4). Unfor- 
tunately, competition programs often include only a general 
statement about awarding a design commission and fail to clarify 
the procedures that may lead to commissions with different 

7.1b Ownership of Ideas 

In competitions for design commissions, there is a clear intent to 
use the submissions for creating a physical product, usually a 
building. Consequently, it is particularly important to clarify the 
legal ownership of the design idea and the sponsor's right to use 
it (refer to Chapter Five). Typically, the sponsor has the right to 
use the designer's idea only for the intended competition pro- 
ject, and only if proper compensation is awarded to the designer 
who should retain ownership of the idea. 

Competitions, however, are not completely analogous to a con- 
ventional client-designer relationship. The use of competition 
submissions for promotional or educational purposes, for exam- 
ple, is not an issue considered in standard client-designer rela- 

7.1c Contracts and Contigencies 

Contracts for commissions can be as varied in competitions as 
they are in professional practice. Designers can receive a flat fee 
or be paid on an hourly or percentage basis. The scope of services 


can be limited, comprehensive or written as a series of contin- 
gent contracts. Sponsors should seek expert legal advice in this 

There are several contractual issues which are unique to competi- 
tions. In some cases, the prize money is considered payment for 
the subsequent design commission. This practice is unfair when 
it means that the designer's earlier investment in the submis- 
sion, or the subsequent commission is left uncompensated. This 
dilemma may be resolved by separating the first-place prize 
money into two components; one payment is given outright to 
the winner as compensation for the submission, and the remain- 
der is given conditionally upon the completion of the negotiated 
scope of services. 

Another unique aspect of competition commissions concerns the 
professional expertise of the winning designer. In anonymous 
competitions there is no way to guarantee that the winner will 
have all the necessary skills for subsequent design work. Even 
when eligibility is restricted to those holding professional cre- 
dentials, there is no assurance that the requisite skills will be 
found in the winning design team. 

There are, however, some contractual arrangements or contin- 
gencies that may assure the needed design expertise. For exam- 
ple, the competition documents can state that in order to receive 
a subsequent design contract (not the cash prize for the submis- 
sion), the winning designer or design firm must demonstrate that 
they have the minimum requisite skills as described in the program or 
that they will affiliate with a firm with proper qualifications prior to 
receiving the commission. 

In some cases no options are given, and the winner must affiliate 
with firms designated by the sponsor. In other instances such 
affiliations are subject to negotiations. In the special case of two- 
stage competitions, review of designer qualifications and provi- 
sions for affiliations may occur at the end of either the first or 
second stage. Once again, the program must specify the basic 
contingencies for contractual arrangements with the sponsor. 


Most competitions arouse public interest and communication of 
the results is desirable. Even when the sponsor's primary goal is 
constructing a building, there is almost always a secondary ob- 


jective involving the communication of ideas. In other instances, 
however, the communication of design ideas is not a secondary 
issue, but the primary goal of the sponsor. 

A competition goal may be to influence public opinion, foster 
new design legislation, influence construction practices or im- 
prove the knowledge of designers. Post-competition activities 
are often intended to educate the design profession or to pro- 
mote the use of new design technologies and products. These 
competitions may have a valuable, long-term influence on the 
attitudes and behavior of the design profession. In such in- 
stances the post-competition strategy for education and promo- 
tion is the central issue. 

Educational and promotional activities include the distribution 
of catalogues, exhibitions and materials for professional journals 
and magazines. Resources for promotion and education should 
be planned and allocated well before the jurying process. Figure 
7.2 lists the basic issues for planning promotional and education- 
al activities. 

7.2a Catalogues 

The intended audience for the competition results might include 
members of a local design association, community leaders, de- 
sign educators, elected officials, philanthropic groups, govern- 
ment agencies, investors or the sponsor's business clients. In 
addition, all the entrants will want to see the other solutions, 
and find out who won and for what reasons. Preparing a cata- 
logue is a simple, direct way to satisfy these interests and pro- 
mote the sponsor's objectives. 

A catalogue should be completed as soon as possible, while 
audience interest is at its highest. The adviser typically plays a 
major role in preparing the catalogue. Other professional re- 
sources which may be needed include graphic designers, pho- 
tographers, editors and, in some cases, critics and scholars who 
are asked to submit additional material. 

Catalogues should include a summary of the program, the win- 
ning solutions (including all awards of merit and honorable men- 
tions) and the jurors' comments. Other items which will enhance 
the value of a catalogue include the sponsor's response, a com- 
plete list of those who submitted solutions, and non-winning 
solutions that were of interest to the jury and may be intriguing 



When planning promotional and educational activities, the following issues should be 

1. Professional 

Sponsors may seek assistance from: 

a. media consultants 

b. journalists and technical writers 

c. graphic designers 

d. photographers, film makers 

e. public relations consultants. 

2. Target Audience 

Sponsors should prepare written and graphic 
materials which are targeted toward specific 
audiences. Preparatory contacts should be made with: 

a. local newspapers 

b. professional and trade journals 

c. television and radio stations 

d. academic publications 

e. popular magazines. 

3. Catalogues and 

Successful dissemination of the results usually 
includes a catalogue, an exhibit or both. Catalogues 
and exhibits should include: 

a. the background and history of the competition 

b. a program summary, emphasizing the design challenge 

c. a description of the sponsor 

d. the sponsor's plans for implementation 

e. all winning solutions 

f. non-winning solutions having meritorious or noteworthy 

g. a description of the jurors 

h. a complete list of the competitors. 

In addition, post-competition publications and 
exhibits should include at least part of the jury report, 

a. the jurors' general comments about the cotnpetition and 
the results 

b. specific commentary about the winning solutions 

c. comments about any meritorious, but non-winning 


Figure 7.2 Continued 

4. Plans for 

Plans for exhibiting the competition results should be 
developed early in the competition process. 
Consideration should be given to: 

a. the size and content of the exhibit 

b. the use of original drawings or reproductions of some or 
all of the submissions 

c. potential sites for local exhibits such as: 

• museums and galleries 

• libraries 

• schools and universities 

• municipal buildings 

• shopping centers 

d. the logistics of traveling exhibits, including: 

• scheduling 

• costs for crating and shipping 

• insurance and liability. 

5. Photographic Sponsors should ensure that there is a comprehensive 

Records record of the competition for educational and archival 

purposes. This requires a photographic copy of the 
submissions. Consideration should be given to: 

a. the location and schedule for the photographic sessions 

b. physical facilities and lighting conditions 

c. special instructions for the photographers regarding 
format, record-keeping or graphic detail. 


to the intended audience. It is not necessary to include all solu- 
tions or to include complete presentations of selected solutions. 
Nevertheless, a broad representation of the work increases inter- 
est and can serve as an abridged archival record. 

The initial costs of printing and distributing a competition cata- 
logue can be significant. In most cases the final cost can be offset 
by selling the catalogues, although the more effective way to 
ensure sufficient production resources is to set aside a portion of 
the registration fee solely for the purpose of producing a cata- 

The number of catalogues to be printed may be estimated as 
approximately 50% more than the assembled list; which should 
include all registrants, jurors, advisory panel members and com- 
petition staff in addition to the sponsor's target audience. There 
are several groups who will usually request additional copies. 
Competitors whose work is shown in the catalogue will probably 
want more copies to use for their own promotional purposes. 



Joseph Valerio, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

This catalogue of competition results combined comments from the 
jury report with the sponsor's observations. It was used to further the 
sponsor's goal for developing support and additional resources (Citys- 
cape and Environmental Graphics Competition, Milwaukee County, 
reforming Arts Center). 


Design researchers, scholars, Hbraries, and educational institu- 
tions frequently request copies. A secondary demand for cata- 
logues may occur several months to a year later after the winners 
are published in professional journals or shown in traveling 
exhibits. It is better to overestimate the needed supply, given the 
marginal increase in printing costs, than to underestimate the 
number of requests and lose the value of the added communica- 
tion of the results. 

7.2b Exhibits 

Exhibitions are another effective way to present competition 
results. Like the catalogue, all winning solutions should be in- 
cluded as well as any other work which helps achieve the spon- 
sor's educational or promotional goals. Non-winning solutions 
obviously receive less prominence in the exhibit than the award 
winners. Portions of the jury's report should be condensed, 
edited and represented in a manner visually compatible with the 


OF A iSlliiv 

COMPETITLON j ^i|l; - 

kee s Lakeli 

Lawrence Witzling, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

This study was an independent catalogue and analysis of the results of 
the Milwaukee Lakefront Planning and Design Competition. It was 
used to promote better design and for general public education. 


The sponsor with the adviser, should plan for the scope, content, 
format, location and schedule of the exhibition. Professional 
assistance may be required from curators, graphic designers and 
others with expertise in preparing exhibits. Submissions must be 
handled and mounted carefully, especially if they have substan- 
tial value as works of art. Attributions of authorship and credit 
for work should be checked carefully, particularly when time 
pressures increase the chance of making embarrassing errors. 

Most exhibitions are shown at more than one site. At the very 
least, there may be two or three locations in the sponsor's home 
community where the results will merit broad public exposure. 
Exhibit sites include office lobbies, colleges, city halls, court- 
houses, museums, galleries, cultural institutions and indoor 
shopping centers. More extensive traveling exhibitions, for com- 
petitions of national interest, are often sent to different profes- 
sional associations, universities and art museums. 

Minneapolis College of Art and Design. 

The catalogue for the New American House Competition was widely 
disseminated to promote better housing design for non-traditional 
households and to give added recognition to the sponsor - the Minne- 
apolis College of Art and Design. 


The public views, for the first time, the winning solutions just prior to 
the announcement and press conference at the New American House 
Competition, Minneapolis College of Art and Design. 

The logistics of scheduling, insuring, mounting and shipping 
exhibits beyond the sponsor's immediate area, will require addi- 
tional resources. When the exhibition includes work of a sub- 
stantial artistic value, more specialized assistance will be needed 
for proper mounting and handling. Also, higher artistic values 
imply higher insurance and shipping costs. 

The sponsor should maintain a complete photographic record of 
all exhibited submissions as a safeguard against the potential 
loss or damage of work. In some cases, photographs rather than 
originals, may be a preferable graphic medium for the exhibition. 
The size of photographic copies, for example, can be increased or 
decreased to suit the requirements of display systems. With 
photographs there is less concern for damaged work and the 
associated liability insurance. 

7.2c Journals and Magazines 

The products of competitions may appeal to several different 
types of audiences. Sponsors should seek publication of the 
results in professional and trade journals, academic journals or 


more popular magazines that include occasional features on de- 
sign. One journal will be interested in emphasizing how the 
competition illustrates the attitudes of leading designers, while 
another will be more interested in the general nature of the 
design problem. Other magazines will emphasize how the com- 
petition results relate to community needs and events. 

During the course of the competition the adviser or sponsor 
should solicit interest from appropriate journals and publishers. 
Some editors may request that a writer or photographer be pre- 
sent during the jurying process. Such enthusiasm should be 
encouraged, but the sponsor must make sure that the press does 
not inhibit the jury and that there is no premature or inaccurate 
public reporting of results. The sponsor may request the right to 
review press reports and articles prior to publication to ensure 

The adviser or a professional writer often prepares tailor-made 
articles or visual materials on behalf of the sponsor, exclusively 
for those publications which suit the sponsor's post-competition 
objectives. For other publications, it is useful to prepare a single 
comprehensive description of the competition with all program 
documents, the jury report, the sponsor's reaction and other 
materials likely to be of interest to editors. Visual materials 
should be prepared, including easily reproducible photographs 
of winning solutions, jury activities and, if applicable, the com- 
petition site and its context. 

7. Id Other Visual Media 

Sponsors have other options for communicating competition 
results, including videotapes, films and slide shows. These tech- 
niques require special expertise, equipment and resources, but 
are particularly useful when presenting the competition process, 
as well as the specific results. A narrated videotape, for instance, 
might include not only the winning solutions, but in addition a 
record of the entire competition, interviews with jurors, and 
post-competition activities. 


Some sponsors would like to construct a winning solution but 
lack the necessary resources or authority. Under these circum- 
stances a competition for a design commission is unfair and may 
be embarrassing, since construction is far from certain. A compe- 



When the goal of a competition is resource development, the following issues should be 

1. Professional Successful resource development activities often 

Assistance require professional services provided by: 

a. public relations and advertising firms 

b. graphic artists 

c. professional lobbyists 

d. fund-raising firms. 

2. Target Groups 
and Individuals 

Sponsors should target their requests for resources 
and support to specific organizations and individuals, 
such as: 

a. local or national philanthropic foundations 

b. governmental agencies and elected officials 

c. major corporations, manufacturers and distributors 

d. national design organizations and professional 

e. individual private donors 

f. editorial boards for newspapers, magazines, radio and 
television stations. 

3. Fund-Raising The cost of fund-raising campaigns and similar 

Activities resource development activities frequently include: 

a. administrative and support staff 

b. preparing public presentations (e.g., catalogues, 
brochures, exhibits and presentations). 

c. conducting meetings and presentations for prospective 
donors, special interest groups, institutions, agencies and 
similar organizations. 

As part of fund-raising activities, the sponsor should 

a. a confidential list and survey (if possible) of potential 
donors and supporters 

b. a list of options for donors and others to consider as the 
target of their donation or support 

c. plans and opportunities for giving major public 
recognition to all individuals and groups who are 


tition to promote a wide range of ideas is also unwise because the 
results may be too vague and unfocused. The alternative is to use 
post-competition activities specifically for resource develop- 
ment. The pragmatic goal is to develop resources so that a good 
solution can be built in the future. 

The use of competition results for resource development must be 
planned from the beginning (Figure 7.3). Presentation require- 
ments, the selection of jurors and the definition of the design 
problem will all influence the utility of the competition results 
for resource development. To plan this type of competition effec- 
tively, the sponsor must first define the target audience. This 
group often includes local opinion leaders, public officials, foun- 
dation directors, business executives and groups that are finan- 
cially and politically capable of supporting the desired project. 

Reaching a target audience requires a knowledge of fund-raising, 
public relations and political lobbying. The tasks involve pre- 
senting the competition results and applications in different 
formats, each suited to a particular audience. Presentations 
might include a brochure sent to potential financial donors, an 
executive summary distributed to business leaders and elected 
officials, a fifteen minute videotape or slide presentation for 
small group meetings, materials for editorial conferences with 
newspaper and television executives and an exhibit for promo- 
tional events. 

After the initial annoucement of the competition results, the 
sponsor usually receives responses from the target audience that 
will raise new opportunities. Under the most fortuitous circum- 
stances, subsequent events will result in the construction of the 
winning solution. A more typical, but still desirable outcome 
may be hiring the winning designers to develop a whole new 
design (rather than their winning solution). In other cases, sub- 
sequent resource development activities may lead to redefining 
the problem and making a fresh start. Any of these results are 
legitimate outcomes for the sponsor. 


In some competitions, all the required resources and authority 
are already available, not only for a design commission, but for 
the production or construction of the winning solution. This 


frequently occurs in competitions to construct new buildings, 
but may also include the production of a new piece of furniture 
or building product. Design-develop competitions are often 
used for mixed-use urban developments with residential, com- 
mercial, and recreational components that requiring millions of 
dollars of investment. 

In major design-develop competitions, each entrant may be a 
team led by an investor, or a general contractor, where designers 
play supporting roles. In this case the teams of competitors will 
consist of different disciplines and professions. The problem 
description and the entire structure of the competition are usual- 
ly oriented toward multiple economic, political and technical 
issues with design as only one of the key components. Frequent- 
ly an existing board or commission performs the jury function. 
When there is an independent jury it normally includes finan- 
cial, construction and planning experts as well as sponsor repre- 
sentatives. There may not even be a design expert on the jury — 
instead, a designer may be hired as a technical adviser. 

Competitions for design-build and design-develop contracts go 
far beyond commissions for conventional design activities. De- 
sign expertise is just one component of a much larger organiza- 
tional effort. While these competitions involve planning and 
managerial issues beyond the scope of this book, several recom- 
mendations are noted in Figure 7.4. This section, however, pri- 
marily addresses the appropriate post-competition activities in 
such competitions (Figure 7.5). 

As might be expected, the activities which follow the initial 
outcome of a design-build or design-develop competition are 
more complex, relying heavily on legal, financial and construc- 
tion issues. Competition results are commonly scrutinized by 
many committees, officials and executives before construction 
begins. These situations are also more newsworthy and attract 
greater public attention, thereby requiring additional resources 
for public relations. 

An important post-competition issue is how the design quality of 
a winning solution can be maintained and safeguarded when 
design objectives become secondary to economic and political 
realities. This is similar to the disappointing but nevertheless 
legitimate compromises common to conventional construction 
projects as they move from an initial concept to their final imple- 



In design-development competitions, design quality is only one of several key issues and 
is frequently less important than economic and political concerns. This book cannot 
address all the issues in design-development competitions. There are, however, several 
basic suggestions loorth consideration. These are intended for competitions conducted 
by public or quasi-public agencies whose goal is to award a contract for property 
development. Often the final selection is made by the sponsor's governing body (e.g., a 
board of directors or government council) rather than a jury. The appropriateness of 
these recommendations depends upon the resources and expertise of the sponsor 

Principle 1 Only a few developers should be invited to compete 

A Narrow Field (e.g., two to five). 

In many cases, developers will not give full, in-depth 
attention to a development competition unless they perceive a 
reasonable chance of success. This is especially true of 
development corporations that have reputations for high- 
quality projects. They may ignore a competition simply 
because they have other, more promising, investment 
opportunities. Even when there is a strong market that can 
attract many developers, it is still advisable to limit the 
invitations to the best candidates. 

Principle 2 Invitations to developers should be based on a 

Good Track Record thorough analysis of their past performance. 

This analysis should include an evaluation of design quality 
as well as financial and political issues. When possible, 
sponsors should visit the projects completed by candidates 
atid intervieu^ those key individuals to whom the dci^eloper 
was responsible. 

Principle 3 



The invited competitors should be equally matched in 
terms of economic and political strength. 

It is not wise, for example, to conduct a competition 
including both large out-of-town dei^elopment corporations 
and local, smaller developers. This situation is unbalanced 
politically and economically. As a result, important design 
issues may be completely obscured in the ensuing 

A reasonable option is to require or recommend affiliations 
betuven local and outside firms, or betuwni firms with 
different economic resources or dei'clopment expertise. 
Balancing the strength of the competitors, helps focus 
attention on relevant design and development isstdes. 



Figure 7.4 Continued 

Principle 4 The time given to competitors to prepare their 

Short Proposal submissions should be relatively short (e.g., four to 

Times six weeks). 


Given longer preparation periods each competitor usually 
assumes that the other competitors will use the added time to 
invest more resources. Each competitor then feels obligated to 
do the same. A short preparation time, however, implies a 
lower cost of preparation for all competitors — there is 
simply not enough time to spend more money. Therefore, 
most developers will view shorter proposal times as 
implying a lower investment of resources for entering 
the competition. 

Principle 5 



Competitors should be required to use simple, 
inexpensive presentation techniques. 

Presentations could be limited, for example, to only a few 
black-and-white drawings with no models or photographs. 
Here too, each competitor knows that other competitors 
cannot over-invest in the presentation of a proposal. This 
reduces the cost of competing and, at the same time, 
gives no competitor an unfair advantage. 

More elaborate presentations should be required only when 
important public hearings or announcements are necessary. 
But even in these instances the sponsor should set required 
limits on the scope of work. 


Figure 7.4 Continued 

Principle 6 The sponsor should allocate in-house experts to 

Coaching Staff provide equal assistance to all competitors in 

preparing proposals. 

In design-development competitions there are often many 
more programmatic options and uncertainties then in 
conventional competitions. In such cases it is unwise to 
preclude all sponsor-competitor communication. Good staff 
assistance normally improves the quality of all the competing 
proposals and thereby serves the sponsor's best interests. In 
some cases sponsors hire consultants to act on their behalf in 
these situations (e.g., designers, managers, programmers and 

The staff may assist competitors privately or in group 
meetings. In all cases, however, information given to 
one competitor should be communcated to all others. 

This is the only way to ensure a fair competition and avoid 
the procedural difficulties that occur when one competitor can 
be shown to have had an unfair advantage. 

Principle 7 
Design Direction 

To increase the likelihood of design excellence, the 
sponsor should prepare a clear design direction (or 
strong guidelines) to be considered by the developers. 

Designers are usually hired by developers as members of a 
competition team. Giving these designers clear guidelines 
usually increases the likelihood of design quality. It permits 
the designer, as only 07ie member of a team, to emphasize and 
advocate for the higher design quality the spo?isor wants. 

To prepare design guidelines, sponsors may hire other design 
professionals to act on their behalf. Design guidelines should 
include both general statements as uvll as specific graphic 
illustrations. The guidelines should clearly distinguish 
required, recommended and optional features. 


Figure 7.4 Continued 

Principle 8 

In most cases, competitors should be prohibited from 
communicating their proposals to any parties other 
than designated members of the sponsor's staff. 

Competitors will normally try to improve their chances of 
winning by seeking support from the general public, 
influential private parties or public officials. This often 
involves the use of public relations experts and lobbyists. In 
some cases this process is legitimate and helpful. In most 
cases such activity is counter-productive during the 

The generally superior option is to encourage thorough public 
scrutiny of all the submissions, on an equal basis, after they 
have been completed and presented to the sponsor, but before 
a final selection has been made. Moreover, it should be the 
sponsor who is responsible for conducting public 
presentations and discussion and not the competitors. 

Principle 9 Competitors should be required to submit a 

Commitment substantial cash payment along with their proposal (to 

Dollars From be refunded only if their solution is rejected). 


This is a typical practice in many developer competitions. 
Required payments might range from $10,000 to $50,000 
depending on the scope of the project. This payment 
discourages capricious entries by developers. The payment is 
not refunded to the winner — it may or may not be credited 
toward subsequent payments by the winning developer (e.g., 
a credit toward the payment for a land parcel). There may be 
a series of two or three of such payments during the course of 
a competition (e.g., the first to enter, the second for a second 
stage in the competition and a third to secure a final 
contract). The payment is refunded to developers who do not 
win or who are not advanced to a final round of competition. 

Principle 10 
Dollars From the 

The sponsor should award some compensation to each 
competitor, whose proposal is rejected as a sign of the 
sponsor's commitment to the project and the 

Guaranteeing a cash payment to all competitors is a clear 
sign to competitors that the sponsor is serious about the 
project. It also shows competitors that the sponsor 
understands the level of resources which competitors must 
invest in preparing proposals. The payment is usually made 
to rejected competitors at the end of each stage in the 


mentation. In competitions, however, special provisions can be 
made to protect the design quahty after a winner is selected, such 
as strong design review procedures or penalties for non-compli- 
ance with design decisions. 

Protecting design excellence is made even more difficult when 
the sponsor does not commission the designer but rather enters 
into a contract with a real estate developer, building contractor or 
manufacturer who has won the competition. In such cases, con- 
tracts should contain explicit provisions which prohibit, or at 
least restrict, substantial design changes without the mutual 
agreement of both the sponsor and winning designer. 


All too often both the sponsor and the design community forget 
that many solutions — not just the first prize — have significant 
value. The forgotten or latent value of the work may become 
apparent only in later years. At the time of the competition only 
several solutions may seem especially innovative or interesting. 
A few years later, however, with new political, economic and 
social circumstances, the perceived value of all the submissions 
will probably be different. There may be a whole range of worth- 
while ideas that simply went unrecognized. 

It is difficult to perceive latent value at the time of the competi- 
tion, since any one submission may be the right solution for a set 
of circumstances that have yet to emerge. This is a speculative 
attitude, but the circumstances which define the competition 
problem will probably change, and a non-winning solution may 
later, be of substantial value. Therefore, retaining an archival 
record of the entire competition will significantly benefit the 
sponsors. Such comprehensive record-keeping requires modest 
resources given its potential utility. 

Still another hidden value of record-keeping derives from the 
unique opportunity to research and explore the nature of the 
design professions through a comparative analysis of design 
concepts and approaches. The work of many famous designers is 
often discovered much later in their past competition submis- 

Design competitions are not scientifically controlled surveys 
with representative samples. They are instead a uniquely disci- 
plined form of intellectual dialogue among designers. Since each 



When awarding contracts for construction or property development, post-competition 
activities are particularly complex and time-consuming. In many cases the issues to be 
considered go beyond the scope of this book. At a minimum, however, the sponsor 
should consider the following: 

1. Professional 

Sponsors will require professional assistance for: 

a. construction or development contracts 

b. subsequent contract administration 

c. construction management 

d. property management 

e. marketing strategies. 

2. Scheduling and 

3. Design Contract 

Sponsors usually develop a schedule or work program 
which includes: 

a. governmental review and approval 

b. public hearings 

c. financing arrangements 

d. construction scheduling 

e. occupancy dates 

f. project staging. 

When awarding a design-build or a design- 
development contract the sponsor: 

a. may require the designer of the winning solution to 
provide services as a sub-contractor to the builder or 

b. require the designer to sign a separate contract to provide 
services directly to the sponsor. 

4. Design In design-build or design-developer competitions. 

Safeguards sponsors should consider special safeguards to protect 

the design quality of winning solutions during 
subsequent design development. Examples of such 
safeguards are: 

a. mandated sponsor review and approval of any design 

b. formal negotiation procedures for any design 
modifications (e.g., third-party review procedures for 
major design changes) 

c. penalties or similar contractual contingencies for making 
major alterations to the design. 



In almost all competitions there is an opportunity to create an archive or similar record 
of the results. To do this sponsors should consider: 

1. Professional Creating an archive may require the assistance of: 


a. curators 

b. historians 

c. librarians 

d. educators and critics 

e. design researchers. 

2. Funding Sources Sponsors may wish to request funds or additional 
support from: 

a. professional design associations 

b. foundations 

c. museums and universities 

d. historical societies 

e. other design-related cultural institutions. 

3. Location 

In addition to the sponsor's offices or facility, the 
archive may be located at: 

a. the headquarters of a design association 

b. libraries or nniseums 

c. historical societies 

d. universities or other cultural institutions. 

4. Access and 

As with any collection, a competition archive should 
be operated effectively. This includes: 

a. safe storage and security 

b. regulations governing access by the general public, 
researchers and design exph'rts 

c. periodic listings of archiuil contents in appropriate 

d. contingencies for the termination of the archive or its 
transfer to another facility. 


Figure 7.6 Continued 

Contents of the The sponsor should ensure that complete records are 

Archives kept of the competition including information about. 

a. The Designers 

The archive must include a complete list of all entrants, 
cross-referenced to identify the designer for each 

b. The Solutions 

In a hierarchy of importance, competition archives should 
contain original submissions including: 

• all winning solutions 

• those non-winning solutions designated by the jury for 
the purposes of exhibition and publication 

• additional solutions selected by a curator, the sponsor or 
adviser, the advisory panel or design professionals. 

In addition a photographic record should be made of 
winning solutions, drawings or models which are likely to 
deteriorate significantly and non-winning submissions 
which will not be retained. 

c. Commentaries 

A complete competition record should contain: 

• the jury report and all other recorded jury comments 

• written comments from the sponsor, advisor and 
advisory panel 

• public responses 

• written comments from professional critics. 

d. Documents 

All competition documents should be included, such as: 

• the compeition poster and/ or announcements 

• the competition program 

• catalogues and brochures 

• news, magazine and journal articles. 

e. Additional Photographs 

It is advisable to include photographs of: 

• the competition site and its physical context 

• the jury activities 

• public events and press conferences 

• the winning competitors 

• the sponsor, adviser and advisory panel. 


designer solves the same problem according to predetermined 
requirements, the overall pattern of ideas which emerges serves 
as an intellectual benchmark and statement of current thinking. 

This is especially true in competitions whose purpose is to pro- 
duce work which represents the state-of-the-art. 

Juries of recognized design experts add still another dimension 
of meaning to this intellectual dialogue. The jury's commentary 
may be as significant as their decision. Too often information is 
recorded about only the top few submissions. The jurors' obser- 
vations about other solutions and ideas are frequently lost. Here 
again, there may be an opportunity to create a significant historic 
record, especially with jurors who have strong reputations as 
critics as well as designers. This is analogous to judicial rulings 
where the content of majority opinions and dissenting opinions 
can be as important to legal tradition and future practice as is the 
decision itself. 

Developing a good archive requires special skills and techniques 
(Figure 7.6). It may be useful to seek professional assistance from 
curators, historians and others with expertise in archival activi- 
ties. Traditional photographic and sound-recording techniques 
as well as newer video and computer-based technologies should 
be considered. Significant additional resources, however, are not 
always necessary. Some archival needs are covered by resources 
normally allocated for other competition activities, such as the 
recording of written and graphic information for reports and 

A successful archival record, however, does require careful orga- 
nization of information. At the simplest level, there should be an 
accurate record of the name and affiliation oi each designer or 
design team and the corresponding solution number (too often 
these lists are misplaced or left incomplete). At another level, the 
archive might include information about the overall tvpologies 
of solutions, especially if the jury has classified designs accord- 
ing to merit or to the type of design. Such critical observations go 
beyond simple record-keeping and mav require the analytic 
skills of the jurors, adviser, design critics and other experts. 

In conclusion, arrangements should be made tor convenient, 
meaningful access to an archival record. Such arrangements 
need not be expensive. If thev cannot be prt)\'ided b\' the spon- 
sor, a local library or educational institution may be willing io 


cooperate. The final disposition of the archive should be based 
on the convenience of public access, the care and preservation of 
the materials and the likelihood that the archive will be main- 
tained over a long period (and not casually discarded after a few 
years). The archive may not be considered useful until several 
years or decades have passed, when scholars, professionals or 
community leaders rediscover the competition as a lost treasure 
and renew their interest in the outcomes. 


Recent Works On Competitions 

General Discussions of Competitions 

American Institute of Architects. Handbook of Architectural Design 
Competitions. Washington, D.C.: American Institute of Archi- 
tects, 1981. 

Marlin, William, "Federal Architecture: Suppressed Desires or 
Released Designs" Inland Architect, July/August 1984. 

National Endowment for the Arts, Design Arts Program. Design 
Competition Manual. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Vision: The 
Center for Environmental Design and Education, 1980. 

National Endowment for the Arts, Design Arts Program. Design 
Competition Manual, 1980; Design Competition Manual 11: On-Site 
Charette, 1981; Design Competition Manual III: A Guide for Spon- 
sors, 1984; Cambridge, Massachusetts: Vision: The Center for 
Environmental Design and Education. 

Pittas, Michael ]. and Smith, Janet M., guest editors. Urban De- 
sign International, Winter 1985, 5 (2); review of 18 competitions. 

Spreiregen, Paul D. Design Competitions. New York: McGraw- 
Hill, 1979. 

Strong, Judith. Participating in Architectural Competitions: A Guide 
for Competitors, Promoters, and Assessors. London: The Architec- 
tural Press, Ltd., 1976. 

Witzling, Lawrence P., Alexander, Ernest R. and Casper, Dennis 
J. "Urban Design Competitions Make a Comeback". Planning. 
1985, 51 (1), 10-17. 

Wynne, George C. (Ed.) Winning Designs: The Competition Renais- 
sance. In the Learning From Abroad series. New Brunswick, New 
Jersey: Council for International Urban Liaison with Institute for 
Environmental Action, 1981. 


Books and Articles on Specific Competitions 

Anonymous "Vietnam Veterans Memorial Design Competi- 
tion". Architectural Record. 1981, 169 (June), 47. 

Freeman, Allen "An Extraordinary Competition". American In- 
stitute of Architects Journal. 1981, 70 (August), 47-53. 

Gunn, Sandra. Eagleridge: An Architectural Design Competition 
from Inside the Jury Room. Dallas, Texas: Innerlmages, Inc., 1983. 

Nevins, Deborah (Ed.) The Roosevelt Island Housing Competition. 
New York: The Architectural League of New York, 1975. 

Witzling, Lawrence P. and Farmer, W. Paul. Anatomy of a Competi- 
tion: Urban Design for Milwaukee's Lakefront. Milwaukee: Universi- 
ty of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Center for Architecture and Urban 
Planning Research, 1982. 

Witzling, Lawrence P. "Making Waves: The Milwaukee Lake- 
front Competition", Inland Architect, November/December 1983, 
27 (6), 17-25. 












2T51A HHT ^OH